Opinion

A number of commuters were temporarily stranded last Thursday, Feb.12, when a train struck a downed electrical pole between the Roslyn and Albertson stations during the morning rush hour. The accident, which left the Oyster Bay branch of the Long Island Rail Road suspended for over two hours, caused only minor injuries to a handful of passengers on board.

Roslyn Highlands Assistant Chief Robert Duchnowski was among the first to arrive at the scene of the collision, which was reported on the train trestle which traverses the Long Island Expressway just east of Roslyn Road and discovered a double-decker train that had struck a utility pole and, consequently, pulled the live, energized power line down on top of the train. Recognizing the imminent danger, Chief Duchnowski immediately called for an emergency response from LIPA to de-energize the power lines and requested a stop order for all trains on the branch in each direction.

As several units from the Roslyn Fire Companies began to arrive, they utilized specialized equipment, designed especially for both electrical emergencies, as well as train emergencies. With the equipment, firefighters confirmed that the power lines resting on top of the train were, in fact, live and extremely dangerous. The presence of high voltage electricity is, in many situations, the greatest hazard that rescuers face.

After the scene was secured and the immediate danger was deemed under control, EMS personnel from the Roslyn Fire Companies were able to board the train and evaluate the passengers. Two victims complained of minor injuries and were transported to local hospitals by mutual aid ambulances from the Port Washington Fire Department, as well as the Williston Park Fire Department.

Fire officials noted that the rescue operation was smooth and efficient, primarily as a result of the interagency cooperation of several emergency response groups, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police, Nassau County Police, New York State Police and the LIRR emergency crews.

Service on the branch was restored by the evening commute.


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