Hicksville firefighters battle the Jan. 13 blaze that started in the upstairs bedroom of this Boulevard Drive home. Photo by Steve Greenfield
On Friday, Jan. 13 at approximately 7:08 p.m., the Hicksville Fire Department received a call for a house fire at Boulevard Drive with persons trapped. Ex-Chief Pat Scanlon, on his way home from an earlier house fire on Dean Street, was the first firefighter on the scene. Upon arrival at the split-level home, Scanlon found fire venting out of a second floor window and was told by neighbors that a person was trapped in an upstairs room.
Scanlon made his way up the stairwell of the split level home and proceeded to crawl down the hallway, following the voice of a trapped male resident. The ex-chief found the adult male victim, 83, lying unconscious in the doorway of the upstairs bedroom and carried him down to the foyer where he received assistance from fellow ex-Chief Owen Magee who had arrived with the department's first unit. The two men carried the victim outside to awaiting firefighters and EMTs from Levittown Parkway's Engine #934.
The victim and his 81-year-old wife, who managed to get out of the home, were both transported to Nassau University Medical Center. The wife was treated and released. The male victim is, as of press time, listed in stable but critical condition in ICU from smoke inhalation and minor burns.
The fire, according to Chief of Department Robert Chiz, is believed to have started from a candle in the upstairs bedrooms; the Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating. According to Chiz, the fire, which was under control in about 30 minutes, caused extensive damage to the second floor of the home as well as smoke and water damage to the rest of the home. Mutual aid was provided by the Bethpage Fire Department's Ladder #3.
In regards to his actions, Scanlon said, "Anyone would have done the same thing. It's all about timing. That's what firefighters do; when everyone is running out, we are running in. He added that the Boulevard Drive fire was déjà vu for him because a similar situation occurred back in 1991 when, as chief, he ran into another burning home to rescue two elderly residents.
According to Chiz, however, Scanlon's actions were nothing other than heroic. "I know he is going to say he did what he was supposed to do, but he did not have protective gear on and went in to make a save. It's one thing to get a call that there is someone trapped but to get there and see flames coming out the windows is another thing. Pat went above and beyond," said Chiz.