Last Friday night, March 27, Great Neck's second fire of the week ravaged a beautiful old house on Arrandale Avenue in the Old Village. The home, at 9 Arrandale Avenue, reportedly built in the 1920s, was destroyed, but the owners were out at the time, coming back to find their street blocked, fire trucks lining Arrandale Avenue, firefighters and emergency responders filling the charming street, and their house ablaze, flames shooting skyward from the roof.
9 Arrandale Avenue ablaze!
Photo by Ken Pretto
Although no serious injuries were reported, the fire did not easily come under control. The Alert Fire Company, housed in the village, responded quickly, along with help, mutual aid, from several other fire companies, including Great Neck's Vigilant and Manhasset-Lakeville fire companies and a fire company from New Hyde Park.
Alert Fire Chief Willie Peterson reported the fire called in at 7:26 p.m. last Friday. He told the Great Neck Record that it took about four hours to put out the fire. The chief said that when they arrived "heavy fire was blowing out of the second floor office window."
According to Chief Peterson a total of 150 firefighters fought the heavy blaze. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries; one was treated at the scene, while the other injured firefighter was sent to the hospital, treated and released.
Ladder trucks raised their long ladders to the roof, with "Great Neck's bravest" climbing high to bring the water hoses up to the fire-filled highest level of the house. A large crowd of shocked onlookers watched with racing hearts as the volunteer firefighters, all neighbors and friends, rushed to the burning building to try to save the home and prevent the fire from spreading.
Among the crowd were Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman, and Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman and Deputy Mayor Mitchell Beckerman. While Comptroller Weitzman was able to offer the victims the ability to contact county services, should they be needed, village officials provided support and a bucket truck for the firefighters when the two such trucks on the scene developed problems.
In the end, Chief Peterson said that the attic was a "loss," the second floor was greatly damaged, and there was water damage throughout the rest of the house.
As to the cause of this house fire, Chief Peterson told the Record that, at press time, the cause remained unknown, but that the Nassau County Fire Marshal's office was still investigating the fire.