Lido Beach Home Destroyed in Early Morning Fire

Four firefighters sustained non-life threatening injuries in the blaze.

Four Long Beach firefighters sustained non-life threatening injuries after a ceiling in a Lido Beach home collapsed on them during an early morning fire Friday.

According to Nassau County detectives, Fourth Precinct police officers responded to a residence on Blackheath Road for a house fire at about 5 a.m. and on arrival found it fully engulfed. Long Beach, Point Lookout-Lido, Oceanside, Island Park, and Freeport fire departments responded with 150 firefighters and 17 pieces of apparatus to extinguished the fire, police said. The home was unoccupied and sustained extensive damage, police said.

According to police, two Long Beach firefighters sustained non-life threatening injuries and were transported to local hospitals for treatment. One firefighter with burns was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, and a second firefighter with back and neck injuries was transported to Long Beach Medical Center. Two other firefighters, including Long Beach Assistant Fire Chief Antonio Cuevas, suffered burns but did not require hospital treatment.

Cuevas said the Long Beach Fire Department was the first department on the scene after receiving a call from a Cleveland Avenue resident reporting smoke in the East End neighborhood.  

“But we found a house fully involved in fire,” Cuevas said about the home on Blackheath, a street on the border of Lido Beach and Long Beach. “We upgraded it to a general alarm and it just happened to be in our neighboring district so we took it in and notified Point Lookout-Lido. It was a joint operation.”

Initially there was a report that children and their grandmother were in the house, Cuevas said, and after finding no sign of people on the first floor he and his fellow firefighters pressed upstairs and the ceiling collapsed.  

“As we got to the top of the stairs the ceiling gave way … and dropped right on top of us,” Cuevas said, noting this was when he and the other firefighters sustained their burns and injuries. An air conditioner in the attic fell and hit one firefighter in the head and neck.

The firefighters went back downstairs, regrouped and went back upstairs. “We were all banged up and bruised but we went back in and continued the job,” Cuevas said. “...We were not going to stop until we were 100 percent sure that there was nobody in there.”

Firefighters contained the fire within about an hour, he said. While Nassau County Fire Marshall is investigating the fire, Cuevas said that it appeared to be electrical and started on the first floor.

* This story was updated at 4:15 p.m. on July 20, 2012.

Brian McNamara August 01, 2012 at 01:40 AM
what demands? are you kidding??? unrealistic??? not being presumptuous you asked if there were real men were on paid force. I called you a coward not a man!!
Kat Tee August 01, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Jay... You choose to blame the hose issue on the whereabouts of the "vaunted" PLLFD fire police services to avoid the line getting run over... Last time I checked the Long Beach Police (who pulled up shortly after the first crew from Long Beach) certainly could have done so upon arrival instead of tromping on a scene to do nothing productive which . I believe LBPD are qualified in traffic matters as well so to sit there and insult PLLFD fire police and volunteer efforts just continues the unnecessary bashing of one another. You want to sit here and argue over salary contract and union rules thats one thing. To play the "tit for tat" game brings this situation as well as many others to an unnecessary level of counter-production and tension... we all know the scruitiny over salaries and tax dollars provides enough on its own. We should at least have eachothers' back when it comes to alarms no?
Jay Gusler August 01, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I've never brought up salaries or any other tertiary issues as part of this discussion. All I've done was respond to comments made by others. Similarly, I'm not the one who brought up any supposed "hose issue". If you look back over the prior posts you'll see that 'checks and balances' brought this aspect of the call into the discussion. There's no doubt that the LBPD are capable of traffic control and could have/should have prevented our hose being severed by a car running it over, but I don't know when they got there in relation to us, or what (if any) other actions they were engaged in. I do know that others have posted comments here to the effect of "the paid guys can't extinguish fires without the help of the volunteers". While I dispute the validity of this idea in a broad sense, as it relates to this story, the volunteer Fire-Police failed in their most basic mission: keeping the scene safe and clear for firefighting operations. So, if others are going to assert the vitality and necessity of the volunteers in effecting positive outcomes to the fires we handle, it fairly invites scrutiny of the effectiveness of the volunteers efforts. In this case those efforts were sub-par. No bashing; just an analysis of the events that transpired at that call.
ab August 01, 2012 at 01:22 PM
i believe you said, "real men use their names". i would never knowing the track record of your force. although i do not doubt most of the men on your force, you seem threatening. demands to retire in 20 years. demands to have your health insurance better than the private citizen. taxpayers pay for nursury school for you and your boys. i know about the ridiculous infighting. i know the mischief you guys cause based on disagreement.
Candygram for Mongo August 01, 2012 at 01:28 PM
real men who use their names face repercussions from the powers that be
Leonard Bauman August 01, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Please kindly stop your attacks on Fireman Jay Gusler. Who cares if he makes 4 cents or $144,000, I bet that $144,000 was a base salary plus overtime- stemming from overtime on fire and emergency situations that resulted in him clocking out past the end of his shift. You should all be ashamed of yourselves! Fireman Jay Gusler deserves your respect, your praise, and maybe a $4 tip or two. Leave Jay Gusler alone you so-called anonymous bullies! Respect him as a firefighter who may rescue your sorry toucus in a fire or give you oxygen when you are suffocating on carbon monoxide due to failure to maintain your heating system. Fireman Jay Gusler is a local hero, stop your disrespect!
ab August 01, 2012 at 03:09 PM
no disrespect. he put himself out there as a voice. but he makes too much money. and to say otherwise is intellectually dishonest.
Brian McNamara August 01, 2012 at 03:20 PM
@ ab you should know that Jay Gusler will no doubt be making a lot less money this year. Overtime has been managed a lot better with this admin. However Overtime is not exactly candy here. It is work and it is being away from your family. Overtime used to be all over the place due to mismanagement.
SurferBilly August 01, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Enough with this 'anonymous' nonsense. Listing your real name (or choosing not to) has zero to do with how valid your point is. Move on. That said, after a fire next door to my moms place a few years ago - she was let back in to her undamaged place later that day to find a laptop, a watch, and a bottle of scotch (!) missing. You think those guys left their real names? the big surprise, she learned it happens a lot more often than you might think.
reality check August 01, 2012 at 04:54 PM
a few FACTS...the fire was in the lido and point lookout fire district response area...the fact that the paid engine of the LBFD was there first was not due to staffing or response...it was dumb luck...as far as attacking the fire...i would expect any brother firefighter to do that...your story on your website while very well written is just that well written...why let facts obscure a good story...you seem to think its ok to disparage the volunteer members of the LBFD and the PLLFD as incompetent...or unable to do the job you guys apparently "struggle" to do...PLLFD engine was on the scene within a few minutes after yours with equal staffing despite you guys being notified first...what does that say about the paid unit thats in house supposedly cutting down on response time...lets not lose focus that a family lost their home...despite reports to the contrary there was noone home an be thankful that the family is ok...your glory seeking at the expense of others is disgusting and despicable...do your job and do it well and you wouldnt have to embelish all the time...LB cant afford the paid force it has and you somehow think if the volunteers werent there the city would hire more guys...c'mon now...the fact that you put "union" issues in front of safety and brotherhood and loyalty tells me all i need to know about the "professionals"...a term thats used far too much to imply that the volunteers are not...the only difference between you guys and the volunteers is if you are the
reality check August 01, 2012 at 04:55 PM
paid professionals...then they are the UNpaid professionals...doing it for love of their community not for a paycheck...whats more noble? and to the poster that was upset that the original call for "smoke in the area" went unchecked...I think its safe to say they hasd their hands full with where the smoke was coming from...lets use common sense now
ab August 01, 2012 at 05:03 PM
pro·fes·sion·al [ prō féshən'l ] 1.of profession: relating to or belonging to a profession 2.following occupation as paid job: engaged in an occupation as a paid job rather than as a hobby 3.businesslike: conforming to the standards of skill, competence, or character normally expected of a properly qualified and experienced person in a work environment
Kat Tee August 01, 2012 at 05:22 PM
@ Jay-I was referring to the salary/union conversations in general... Not accusing you of bringing the topic up at all. While the hose issue was not brought up by you, you did come back with a defense with reference to the absence of PLLFD fire police, but your phrasing of that particular comment came off as a sarcastic dig at fire police, so if you meant to praise instead...the terminology you used created a much different delivery. I won't comment on the ability of the "paid guys" to fight fires without help as I have not seen this happen so it would be an unfair judgement. The duty of "scene safety and effective firefighting operations" should not only fall on fire police here. The LBPD could have at least set up the scene for initial operations and could have even helped out once fire police did arrive so that manpower could be dispersed in areas that needed more help. Not saying any one group is "vital" or better in the success of operations but any kind of assistance which helps facilitate the operation should be welcomed and if its not creating the desired results, commincations should be set forth then and there, not just criticized after the fact.
Kat Tee August 01, 2012 at 08:22 PM
@ Leonard...While I am sure your input is appreciated by him I I think that Jay is more than capable of speaking for himself. I think by now he has already hired a personal attorney. Furthermore this is an open forum. Comments are made and responded to in all directions.....does not mean anyone is being "picked on". You just have to be able to back up what you are saying...(this goes for anyone)....its just the way these things work.
Leonard Bauman August 01, 2012 at 08:26 PM
@Kat Tee: No one has a right to belittle, demean, bully Jay Gusler or anyone else posting on the Patch. No poster should be addressed the way some people have demeaned Mr. Gusler, his job as a fireman, his $144,000 salary, and his personal opinion(s), which he is entitled to say without fear of retaliation.
Checks and Balances August 01, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Once again, I have no issue with the Paid Force and you guys do a great job. As someone already has pointed out what upset me was the posting on your website. Nobody in the Volunteer Service was bragging about this fire. A family lost everything they own while on vacation. It was all of our jobs to vent, Enter and Search and extinguish the fire. It was nobodies fault that the call was so delayed. Had it been called in a few minutes sooner, much of the property would most likely have been saved. Again, my only response was due to the bravado shown by members of your union. Nobody should have taken any pleasure following that fire. In fact I had to leave early for work and only found out hours latter that the house was unoccupied. I was sure I would be hearing on the news that 3 people were found dead following a house fire in Lido Beach. That was of course based on the reports on arrival of people being trapped. Regarding traffic control both LBPD and NCPD were on scene prior to our arrival and should have secured the scene. All I knew was that one line burst and another lost pressure. Both lines were being supplied by Engine 43. Those are the facts as I know them.
Jay Gusler August 01, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Ah, but whether or not you're willing to put your name to your words has everything to do with the credibility of what you write. I can certainly understand that some may have very compelling reasons to conceal their identities. If one posts something confidential or potentially embarrassing about someone or something, anonymity may - MAY - insulate them from being held accountable. Indeed, anonymity can, at times, liberate someone to speak more freely thus enhancing the free exchange of information and contributing positively to the marketplace of ideas. The flip side of that coin is that many here feel that they can defame, threaten and disparage others with impunity. For the most part, they're right. It's very difficult to uncover the identity of those that post anonymously here. Difficult, but not impossible. I know because I've been forced to resort to subpoenas in order to uncover the identity of certain Patch posters. I think it would be wise for folks to think before they write on a public forum. Your postings can be traced back to you. I'm reminded of the expression about keeping ones words soft and sweet just in case they have to eat them. Those who post anonymously here might want to consider what the ramifications could be of having their identity exposed. It can be done. I've already done it. All should consider themselves so advised.
Jay Gusler August 01, 2012 at 08:49 PM
By none of these definitions can volunteers consider themselves professional.
Jay Gusler August 01, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Fair enough Checks, but I don't think anything in the piece on the Union's website comes off as bragging. In my estimation, there was nothing about that job worth bragging about. What you must understand is that we (the LBPFFA) are under constant siege from both the City and - yes - our volunteers, with both claiming that we're somehow either not needed, or that we're only a marginal part of the LBFD's firefighting efforts. Thus the Union's need to play-up our involvement with this fire. No one is reveling in the families misery or celebrating the severity of the damage done. Sadly, that kind of commentary is all too common on LI Fire Buff websites such as the FDRant. There's none of that in the story on the Union website. Really just an attempt to get our due recognition for our efforts. Unfortunately, if we don't recognize ourselves, our LBFD leadership aren't going to do it for us. As an aside, the oft repeated practice of pulling all lines off of Engine 43 is something that needs to be addressed. What do we need five Engines at scene for if only one is going to supply lines? What happens when there's a catastrophic equipment failure? The distribution of hose lines should be spread out among different apparatus on any fire, not just those of the scope of this fire.
Checks and Balances August 01, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Jay, understood. Regarding the pulling of lines I could not agree more. In fact I have never liked the practice of dropping/pulling the Gated Wye and leaving it in front of the building. Now the other Engines are using the Cleveland Hose Load and using your Gated Wye as the only supply. Now if you lose your supply hose you lose two lines instead of just one. Even more to your point Engine 255 supplied one 1 3/4" handline and Engine 253 stretched in and fed the Tower Ladder. Therefore, we were not relying on Engine 3 to supply an of our FF lines.
Jay Gusler August 01, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Was told five lines operated off E3. That's putting too many eggs in one basket. Also, after this fire E3 no longer utilizing Cleveland (Metropack). Found it needed to be pumped at too high of a pressure in order to play out properly.
handsome mike August 02, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Candygram for Mongo August 02, 2012 at 01:27 AM
This is where I disagree - four lines of E2 is the official National Standard. To deviate from that formula, you would certainly then, and ONLY then, need to consider making adjustments to the metro packs or Cleveland hose load. Really need to have a more responsible discussion on tactics here fellas.
oceanview August 02, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Leonard I cant agree more. Personal attacks uncalled for. Its a shame.
Checks and Balances August 02, 2012 at 12:00 PM
You prove once again how ignorant you really are. I have no idea what your problem is, but get over it. Nobody is out to steal property when they enter a home to extinguish a fire. My biggest concern was for the possible loss of life and the safety of my members. There were wires that fell and were getting caught on everyone's Air Paks possibly trapping them. We had propane tanks that were stored up against the house leaking out of their relief valves and we had ceilings dropping down on the advancing firefighters.Look at the pictures, the roof was ready to collapse. The interior stair treads were burned away. However, all you think we were after was their personal property. You are a fool.
handsome mike August 02, 2012 at 04:07 PM
ab August 02, 2012 at 04:29 PM
i've just received disturbing news that i have now been targetting by the long beach professional firefighters due to my postings yesterday. thanks guys for the lively discussion.
Candygram for Mongo August 02, 2012 at 04:40 PM
McNamara? How did they find out your "real" name?
ab August 02, 2012 at 06:42 PM
they knew it all along.
Candygram for Mongo August 02, 2012 at 08:52 PM
i wouldn't worry about it. What they don't realize (yet) is that there are restructuring plans in the works on account of the current budget issues in the city. This includes possible layoffs and/or furloughs, scaled back benefits, etc. In other words (not to count the chicks before they hatch), mission accomplished!


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