On Tuesday morning, May 20, OBFD was alerted to an automatic alarm at Ballybung House, home of Nobel Prize winner Dr. James Watson, on the campus of Cold Spring Harbor Labs. First in unit, 5502, Asst. Chief Bellissimo, was informed by Security of smoke in the building. A heavy burning plastic smell permeated the air by the porch. Further investigation showed an HVAC humidifier pump had burnt, and there was a light smoke condition on the first floor, and moderate smoke in the basement. 5502 ordered ASFC Engine 559 to make ready a smoke ejector, and OBFD Engine 558 to supply the Thermal Imaging Camera. ASFC Lt. Tim Barnett and OBFD FF Craig Barber investigated the burnt pump and surrounding area to assure there was no further extension. FF Bill Gagliano set up a smoke ejector in a basement doorway, while FF Charley Bradley deployed a second smoke ejector at the top of the stairway in a positive pressure mode. FF Gagliano (always nice to have an electrician on your calls!) traced the pumps circuit back to the panel box along with 5502, and disabled the requisite breakers. The smoke was evacuated from the building via the two fans, and Dr. Watson returned to his living quarters about 30 minutes later. All units were secured by 0505.
OBFD Responds to Fire at Labs
May 20, 2008