Written by Cynthia Paulis Saturday, 28 December 2013 00:00
The New Hyde Park Fire Department was among the companies present last week, when a living room, complete with gifts under the decorated tree, turned into a roaring inferno that enveloped the Cape-style home in a matter of minutes.
While usually springing into action to save lives and property, in the case, the firefighters just stood by, taking it all in.
This was part of a training exercise at the Nassau County Fire Academy in Bethpage.
The lesson: While there is nothing more beautiful than a real fir tree decked out with lights, ornaments and tinsel, there also is nothing more deadly.
With a short from an electrical circuit, the fresh Christmas tree started to smolder. Within seconds, it ignited, falling onto the couch. Minutes later, the entire living room was burning down to the studs—nothing left but ashes.
On average, one of every 40 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death, compared to one death for every 142 home fires, according to county fire officials, and electrical problems were factors in one third of Christmas tree fires.
The demonstration marked the inaugural burn of two mocked-up homes at the training center.
John Murray, chief instructor of the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center, standing before the burned-out house, offered tips on preventing such disasters.
“Use fresh-cut trees, as fresh as possible,” he said. “Shake the tree, bounce it on the ground, and run your hand along the needles, making sure they do not fall off excessively. If they do, don’t buy it.”
Cut a few inches off the bottom, and if you are not going to put it in the house right away, soak the trunk in a pail of water outside, protected from snow and ice.
“Use ‘Prolong,’ a wetting agent that you can get at any garden or box store,” Murray said. “It helps take the water up in the tree and it preserves it longer.”
In the house, don’t place the tree near heating units, fireplaces, staircases or points of egress, he said. After all, if the worst happens, you want to be able to get out.
“The tree should be hydrated every day, and check to make sure the water is being taken up by the tree,” Murray said. “The tree shouldn’t be in the house for more than one and a half weeks.”
As for lights, Murray stressed the importance insuring that they are properly working and the wires aren’t frayed. Any issues, throw them out and buy new.
“It should say UL-rated on the box,” he said. “Don’t buy the cheapest ones you can. Your family’s safety is not worth saving a few dollars.”
He also warned against overloading outlets, and said the rule of thumb is one plug in one outlet. Turn the tree lights off at night, unplugging them before heading to bed or leaving the house.
“Have working smoke detectors on every level of the house,” he said. “If one goes off, leave the house immediately and call the fire department from outside the house.”
The museum’s website—www.NCFireMuseum.org—has more information on fire safety.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
It’s a family affair for the Winters of Port Washington when they make pilgrimages to Bobb Howard’s General Store in New Hyde Park. “There’s something in that store for everyone,” says Tracy Winters, who has been a customer of this retro candy and toy store for eight years. Tracy goes for the Astro Pops, husband Michael gets Marshmallow Twists and Tracy’s mother, Phyllis Heller of Bellmore, can’t resist the Goldenberg Peanut Chews. Jake, Tracy’s older son, isn’t a candy lover so he gravitates to the old-time toys and nostalgia posters.
Jamie Waller of Queens says it made him feel like a kid again when he saw the wall of candy with treats from the 1990s and 1950s sitting next to each other. “Anything you can possibly want is there,” he says. For Jamie, a big treat is Circus Peanuts, peanut-shaped marshmallows. “My dad used to love them when he was a kid,” he says.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
One fortunate New Hyde Park resident was rescued from the freezing cold on Tuesday, Feb. 25 thanks to Dr. Julia Harmon, DVM, of the New Hyde Park Animal Hospital. That night, at approximately 8 p.m., Harmon was going to her car after work when she saw Spike, a wandering bulldog near Brooklyn Avenue, one block from the vet’s office on Jericho Turnpike.
Harmon immediately brought Spike, who was not wearing a collar and did not have a microchip implanted for identification, back to the vet’s office. The temperature outside was already at 31 degrees, but felt like 20 degrees with the windchill. Luckily Spike was
brought in from the cold early; temperatures dropped down to 25 degrees that night.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
New Hyde Park Michael Castelli recently participated in the 32nd Black Belt Graduation at Charles Water Karate & Fitness, located at 122 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park. He graduated to first-degree black belt.
“Our studio teaches students how to defend themselves responsibly while instilling self-confidence, self-discipline and respect for others,” says Grandmaster Charles Water, owner and director of the school.
Students tested in October, successfully passed their exam recently and received their black belt certificates. “Who says that the youth of America are not committed? A healthy life style at the karate studio, mentally and physically is alive, well and working,” said Water.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
After missing the playoffs two straight years, the Sewanhaka Indians Boys lacrosse team will face tougher odds if it hopes to advance to postseason play in 2014.
The Indians, who start their season March 24 at Oyster Bay, will be playing out of Section 8, Nassau Conference II (Class B) this year; a bump up from their usual spot in Nassau Conference III (Class C). Typically, the schools are divided by enrollment.
“There are no gimmies in this league,” said nine-year coach Peter Burgess. “We were the last team to make this league in terms of population. They kind of drew the line below us. So we’re the smallest school in the league.”
Burgess said another obstacle for the Indians will be facing teams that they have no experience playing before.