Mineola fire displaces dozen residents, rekindles next day

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Mineola fire displaces dozen residents, rekindles next day
Over 100 firefighters respond to a Jan. 24 fire in Mineola, the first of two incidents at the same location over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Gregory D'Agostino)

A fire tore through a building on Second Street in Mineola on Friday, displacing about a dozen residents before being brought under control by over 100 firefighters, officials said. On the following day it apparently rekindled and firefighters were forced to turn out again to extinguish the flames.

No one was injured.

According to Nassau County Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro, 22 departments responded to a mutual aid call on Friday after the Mineola Fire Department received an alert to respond to a scene involving heavy smoke conditions. 

The fire in the two-story building at 178 Second St., which has apartments on the second floor and two businesses on the first floor, Metro PCS and the Discount Store, took about two hours to get under control after it turned into a mutual aid call, Uttaro said. 

Mineola Fire Department Chief Andrew Martone, who was in control of the fire scene Friday, said that no occupants were trapped at the time of the call and that whoever was present in the building was able to leave by a staircase.

The Red Cross helped the displaced residents who lived on the second floor, where the fire began, according to Uttaro.

An investigation into the cause of Friday’s fire was underway, Uttaro said. Arson and bomb squad detectives were at the scene, according to officials. 

 

According to Mayor Scott Strauss, companies that were dispatched  include all units of the Mineola Fire Department and the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps. In addition, first responders from Williston Park, East Williston, Garden City and Carle Place arrived at the scene.

Departments that were notified to stand by in Mineola include Albertson, Stewart Manor and Floral Park Centre. 

Also involved in firefighting operations include departments from Westbury, Floral Park, Roslyn, Elmont, Port Washington, Manhasset-Lakeville, Jericho, New Hyde Park, West Hempstead, Hempstead and South Floral Park.

A rekindling, the relighting of a previous fire, most likely is the cause for the second incident Saturday at the building around 6 p.m., around the same time as Friday’s fire beginning, where 10 companies responded, switching out with other departments following shifts, Uttaro said. 

The Saturday night fire was the second  at the building that day that the Mineola Fire Department responded to,  Strauss said.

According to Strauss, the department spent about an hour responding to a minor fire that grew slightly with increased winds.

“We responded to the same building Saturday morning because a firefighter from a nearby department told us that there was a thin, wispy smoke coming out the building,” Strauss said. “We put the small fire out with a few hand lines but really could have done so with a few water buckets. By the end of that call, we didn’t see any potential issues ”

The building was fully engulfed by fire hours later, and Strauss said he was “surprised” how quickly it grew.

First responders on Friday and Saturday were not able to enter the second floor of the building because it was unstable. Ladder trucks fought the fire from outside the building through the windows, and on Saturday the roof, which had collapsed.  

By Saturday, the first floor was completely boarded up.

“It was too dangerous to send firefighters up there at that point,” Uttaro said. “They surrounded it with their equipment and performed a surround and drown in order to soak the building.”

Uttaro said the Village of Mineola will determine whether the building will be knocked down, and Strauss said he has not made a decision yet.

Martone thanked all those that helped Mineola in the freezing temperatures. 

“We had a sufficient amount of manpower from the Mineola Fire Department and surrounding departments that lent a hand to help attack this fire before it spread to any other buildings,” Martone said. “We were able to control the fire. There were difficult weather conditions but the numbers we had let us perform our task and control the fire adequately.”

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