Setauket Fire Department saves driver, fights cat hospital fire

Setauket Fire Department saves driver, fights cat hospital fire

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Firefighters battle a fire at Brookhaven Cat Hospital Oct. 7. Photo by Dennis Whittam

By Bob O’Rourk

The Setauket Fire Department tackled a challenging rescue Oct. 5, and just two days later, fought a significant fire during the evening of Oct. 7.

Setauket firefighters rescue a driver from a dump truck that crashed into a large tree on Pond Path. Photo by Bob O’Rourk

On Oct. 5 at 2:08 p.m., the department was called to rescue the driver of a dump truck that crashed into a large tree on Pond Path near Robert Crescent in Setauket, crushing the side of the driver compartment and pinning the motorist under the dash. Both of the fire department’s heavy rescue crews combined to finally release the victim after an hour of work to free his legs from the steering column and dashboard, which had collapsed into him.

With the truck lodged firmly against a 12-inch diameter tree, and the driver’s legs pinned, medical attention was given while he was in the cab and continued until he was freed. He was alert throughout most of the hour he was pinned in the truck.

The truck and driver were part of a crew of contractors, operating for PSEG, who were clearing the power lines along a private driveway that extends from Pond Path for more than 300 feet. The newly paved driveway has some sharp falloffs in several areas. One of those drop-offs apparently caused the truck to veer into two robust trees.

The fire department responded with two heavy rescue trucks and a pumper as well as numerous medical personnel and an ambulance. During the time the driver was pinned, he received a number of injections to relieve pain. Once he was freed, he was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for further medical care.

Suffolk County Police Department Emergency Service also responded and aided with hydraulic tools to supplement those used by Setauket Fire Department personnel.

Firefighters battle a fire at Brookhaven Cat Hospital Oct. 7. Photo by Dennis Whittam

On Oct. 7 at 7:28 p.m., the department was called to a fire at the Brookhaven Cat Hospital at 60 Route 25A in Setauket. The fire was significant and inside a building with many rooms. Two other businesses also occupied the building.

The fire was reported via an automatic alarm. The first responders noticed significant smoke coming from the building and called in the signal for an actual fire which evoked mutual aid from Stony Brook, Port Jefferson, Centereach, Terryville, St James and Selden fire departments, as well as Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Nesconset and Port Jefferson ambulances.

Heavy fire was encountered upon entry to the building. It took firefighters more than two hours to bring the fire under control. There was significant damage to the roof as well as the interior spaces. The SCPD Arson Squad and Town of Brookhaven fire marshal were called to determine the cause, which at this point is still under investigation.

The fire was contained to the cat hospital areas in the building. According to the business owner, three cats were inside. Two were found deceased, and the third one is unaccounted for at this time. One firefighter suffered a minor injury from heat exhaustion and was transported to a local hospital.