Memorial Day 2005 and Then Reality on Tuesday

As all the residents who live in Oyster Bay know, certain holidays are special and busy ones for Volunteer Fire Departments. Memorial Day is one of them. The members of Oyster Bay Fire Company #1 and the Atlantic Steamer Fire Company #1, their family and friends, were up bright and early to attend the joint Memorial Day Service at the Oyster Bay Fire Company #1’s fire house. At this service, homage is paid to those members who gave the ultimate sacrifice either while on duty as a fireman or in the service of their country. A special prayer was shared by everyone for the safety of those members who are on active duty in Iraq, Jerry Aylward and Scott Blake from OBFC #1, and, James Ceglia from the ASFC #1.

After the services, it was time for both Companies to do last minute detailing of their apparatus for the parade. A befitting coincidence was noted: the meeting and starting point of the parade was at Burtis Avenue and Kellog Street, the scene of a recent devastating fire. Following the banner of the OBFC #1 were the pipers of the NYC Shields Band, which is made up of retired and active NYC Police Officers. Following the band and marching proudly, left foot in step with the bass drum, were the Officers and members of our Company. Each Company proudly paraded the various pieces of apparatus that protect the property and the lives of our community. I am sure that each member of our Fire Departments felt extremely gratified to see the great number of people who attended the parade clapping to show their appreciation of their neighbors who give so much of their time and energy. After the parade, each fire Company held a luncheon at their respective houses for members and their families. Even though the preparation for Memorial Day is long and arduous, the feeling at the end of such an inspiring event makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday brought the Companies back to the reality of why we are volunteering. Early in the morning, at approximately 10 A.M., the OBFD was called to provide mutual aid to the Syosset FD at a large, intense fire in a private dwelling on Northern Blvd. OBFC #1 sent Tower Ladder 554 and our van with additional manpower. Chief DeCarolis worked with Syosset’s Incident Command and Asst. Chiefs Mantegari, III and Bellissimo took up positions along the perimeter. The heat was so intense that it singed the outside of a building many feet away from the fire. The fire was brought under control, but the dwelling sustained major damage. The Fire Marshalls were called in to investigate.

Again, at 3 P.M., the Syosset FD required mutual aid to a house fire on Colony Lane. It was a 2 and a half story private dwelling with a fire in the attic space that spread throughout the roof and part of the second floor. Bethpage FD, Hicksville FD, and Syosset FD knocked down the fire, but as mentioned before, Syosset FD had already battled a large fire earlier in the day, so the crew from OBFC #1’s Engine 558 relieved the Syosset crew to do overhaul and salvage. The Syosset Incident Commander released our crew and we headed back to Oyster Bay. While enroute, 558 was diverted back to the scene of the first fire on Northern Blvd. to help the Fire Marshalls in their investigation. There still was plenty of smoke, and, small fires kept flaring up even after so many hours and gallons of water. A relief crew from OBFD was sent at 4:42 and our crew returned to Oyster Bay. It was a tiring, but rewarding day, because each volunteer knew that we had helped a neighboring community and our brother firemen.

If you are interested in sharing this experience with us, please visit us at: or call 516-922-1226.