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Fire

Suffolk County police car. File photo

A Commack woman and her dogs Marlo and Bo were saved from their burning home Friday morning, with the help of two firefighters and a police officer.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 45-year-old Elyssa Roth dropped Marlo out of her bedroom window into the responders’ arms, then jumped out herself. Bo was later saved from inside the house.

It all started shortly before 9:30 a.m., when someone called 911 to report the fire on Suttonwood Drive, police said. Officer David Mascarella from the 4th Precinct and Commack Fire Department volunteers Bernie Simoes and Paul Carnevale responded to find heavy smoke and limited visibility at the burning home. The heavy flames and intense heat prevented Mascarella and Simoes from going inside, police said.

The responders convinced Roth to drop Marlo the dog from her second-floor bedroom window, then followed and the men caught her. Bo was found inside the house and treated at an animal hospital.

That second dog was not the only one who needed medical attention. Police said Roth and Mascarella were treated for smoke inhalation at Stony Brook University Hospital and at Smithtown’s St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, respectively. The pair of firefighters were treated for respiratory distress at the scene of the blaze.

According to police, arson detectives have determined the fire had a non-criminal cause.

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Setauket firefighters get set with a ladder to approach the second floor dormitory fire area as soon as interior firefighters put water on the fire to extinguish flames. Photo from SFD/R. O'Rourk

A ferocious fire inside a dormitory building at Stony Brook University has left multiple floors and rooms damaged, the university said Monday.

The blaze broke out Saturday night in a student’s room on the second floor of O’Neill College, one of four residential buildings in Mendelsohn Quad, officials said. It took teams from various fire departments in the community to extinguish the flames and forced about 115 student residents to relocate to temporary housing, the university said in a statement.

The cause was still under investigation and there were no reported injuries.

“The fire was contained to one bedroom on E-wing [of the dormitory] with some damage to several room doors on multiple floors of the wing as well as some water and smoke damage,” the university said in a statement. “Professional and student staff within campus residences immediately began to work diligently to provide resident students with the resources and support needed, and continue to do so.”

The fire is extinguished but a clean-up of debris from the room continues to ensure no hidden flames exist. Photo from SFD/R. O'Rourk
The fire is extinguished but a clean-up of debris from the room continues to ensure no hidden flames exist. Photo from SFD/R. O’Rourk

University police initially reported the fire before crews arrived. The Setauket Fire Department responded to the call and received mutual aid from the Stony Brook, St. James and Port Jefferson departments. There, officials found that the dorm room where the flames originated was completely destroyed, officials said.

Setauket firefighters had to carry hoses up to the second floor because there were no standpipes there to connect to, due to the building’s decades-old architecture, the Setauket Fire Department said in a statement.

“Once water was brought to bear, most flames were extinguished and the remainder of the alarm resulted in cleaning out debris to ensure there was no extension to the fire,” the department said in a statement.

The university said the displaced residents would return to the building when it is properly restored.

“Currently there are professional fire restoration personnel on-site working to repair the facility in conjunction with our campus residence operations and risk management staff,” the university said in a statement.

A fireball erupts during a demonstration on the dangers of deep-frying a turkey in hot oil. Photo from Brookhaven Town

Brookhaven Town officials held a fiery presentation on Nov. 20 to demonstrate the dangers of deep-frying a turkey in hot oil.

According to a press release from the town, the trend is a growing one that is responsible for several deaths and dozens of injuries every year.

The hot oil can splash or spill, causing severe burns.

“The fireball that we saw during the demonstration clearly showed how the improper use of turkey fryers can lead to personal injury and the destruction of property,” Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said in a statement. “I hope that people who use deep fryers follow all the manufacturer’s safety instructions and keep a fire extinguisher handy.”

Romaine and the town’s chief fire marshal, Chris Mehrman, held the demonstration on the Friday ahead of Thanksgiving.

The supervisor also announced that this holiday season the town would accept waste oil, which is used to create biodiesel fuel, at the town landfill on Horseblock Road in Brookhaven hamlet.

Last year, the town accepted more than 350 gallons of used cooking oil after Thanksgiving, according to the press release.

The landfill is open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday, from 7 a.m. to noon.

For Thanksgiving fire safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association at www.nfpa.org.

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A fire tears through Malkmes Florists in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Dennis Whittam

A fire tore through Malkmes Florists in Port Jefferson Station on Friday the 13th, destroying the building but not the family business that has been passed down for generations.

Family heirlooms, flower arrangements, antique furniture — all burned to ashes that morning.

“There’s nothing left,” Lisa Malkmes, one of the owners, said about the property damage in a phone interview Tuesday. “We lost the entire building and all of our computers. Everything’s gone.”

Dennis Whittam, a spokesman for the Terryville Fire Department, said firefighters received a notification that morning of a “fully involved structure fire” across Route 112 from the firehouse, at the longtime neighborhood business at the end of Oakland Avenue.

Firefighters on the scene at Malkmes Florists in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Dennis Whittam
Firefighters on the scene at Malkmes Florists in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Dennis Whittam

A Port Jefferson Fire Department engine was the first truck on the scene and started to attack the flames on the exterior, Whittam said, as Terryville’s ladder truck and other engines set up hand lines and master streams under command of Chief Richard McCarren and Assistant Chief Tom Young. The Selden, Mount Sinai and Coram fire departments also offered assistance.

The fire was out by about noon, Malkmes said, and then the florists quickly had to put together flowers for a wedding happening that afternoon, after the bride’s original flowers burned in the blaze. Everything was finished on time, she said, “because of my employees. They opened their home and we were able to get flowers in quick enough.”

She added that the business put flowers together for two weddings and two funerals over the weekend as well.

Malkmes Florists & Greenhouses has been in operation for decades, and was previously run by longtime community member Harold Malkmes, who died in 2011. Malkmes was a 17-term Brookhaven Town highway superintendent who grew up in Port Jefferson Station and studied horticulture in college before taking the helm at the business, which had been in the family since the 19th century. He passed the reins of the shop to one of his sons, Michael, a Miller Place resident who runs the business with wife Lisa.

The Malkmes name is also familiar to town residents who have visited the community man’s other namesake, the Harold H. Malkmes Wildlife Education and Ecology Center in Holtsville.

Lisa Malkmes said the florists are still open for business. They are working on phone orders and will be putting up a temporary structure soon, with the eventual goal of reconstructing the business.

A fire tears through Malkmes Florists in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Dennis Whittam
A fire tears through Malkmes Florists in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Dennis Whittam

This is not the first time the family has had to rebuild.

According to Michael Malkmes, who is also a heavy equipment operator in the town highway department, the business dates back to the 1800s, when it was based in Medford. But a fire tore through that original building, destroying it.

“My grandfather decided to rebuild up here on the North Shore,” Malkmes said Tuesday, and a new shop opened at the end of Oakland Avenue in 1912 called Belle Croft Greenhouses, in honor of a historic name for the neighborhood. That became Malkmes Florists in the 1970s under the ownership of Harold Malkmes.

There were still historical and familial tributes around the shop and property when the fire caught: a picture of Harold playing tennis, a sign from when the man ran for highway superintendent, an aerial photo of the shop from the 1930s, family heirlooms like an antique vanity and curio cabinet, and Harold’s service medal from his time in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, as a tail gunner on a B-25 bomber in Italy.

“There’s a lot of tears,” Michael Malkmes said. “We’ve been there for eons so it’s kind of a shame.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“The building was built in 1912, so the wood was probably a little dry — that’s why it cooked the way it did,” he said. “Once [the fire] punched through the roof, it was just like a chimney.”

But just as before, the family florists plan to rise from the ashes.

“We’re definitely going to rebuild,” he said. “Our customers have been coming there for years.”

South Setauket resident Jay Gardiner says he hopes his background in business can help him lead the Setauket Fire District into another five years of excellence. Photo by Phil Corso

When it comes to his commitment to the Setauket Fire District, newly appointed Commissioner Jay Gardiner is all business.

Gardiner, of South Setauket, was appointed to his job with the district back in May to fill the remainder of the term previously held by Thomas Gallagher and said he has stepped up in his efforts to share his name and face with the greater Setauket community as he heads into a re-election bid later this year. Since being named commissioner, he said he has been calling on his more than two decades working with the fire department, including 12 years as a lieutenant, to ensure the district maintains what he describes as a first-class service with a firm financial foundation.

“I want to see this project through,” Gardiner said, citing ongoing projects to upgrade the Setauket Fire Department grounds among other things in the works within the district. “I can lend my business acumen to my community over the five-year term.”

The roughly 28-square-mile Setauket Fire District has spent the better part of the past year discussing ways to improve and upgrade the Setauket Fire Department, and there have been rough renderings circulating throughout the district mulling over ways to do that. Gardiner said he was anticipating construction at the Main Street firehouse to hopefully begin over the next year and be finished by 2018.

“We need the ability to get the right trucks and new equipment in an efficient way,” he said. “I believe I can be an objective eye throughout the process.”

Gardiner was appointed after the Setauket Fire District’s five-member board interviewed three qualified candidates earlier this year to replace the retiring Gallagher. In a statement posted on the Setauket Fire District’s Facebook page, Gardiner was selected based on his strong background in business, emergency response services leadership and education, as well as his many dedicated years of service, having served with the department since 1989. He has also served as president of Gardiner Plastics, an active leader in the plastics industry.

“The business goal is to see continuous quality improvement,” he said. “The fire department gets every tool it needs, and there are new advancements every day. That’s where being able to budget properly comes in. These are the things that will make a difference in the community.”

Since taking on the position in May, Gardiner said the Setauket Fire District’s ability to respond to emergencies has increased over recent months, thanks to the maintenance and upgrading of state-of-the-art equipment and a neighbors-first mentality.

“We believe in community,” he said. “We are part of the community, and the people we are serving are our neighbors and our friends.”

One of his biggest priorities since assuming the commissioner role, Gardiner said, has been working to make sure the greater North Shore community learns more about the quality of services available through the Setauket Fire District. He said he wants the nearly 150-member fire department’s services and practices to be both easily understandable and interactive with the community.

“We’re working on new policies to make the department even more professional,” he said. “We want to look and act like the first-rate service we are.”

File photo

The Huntington Community First Aid Squad responded to an emergency call on Saturday morning after a crash between a motorcycle and a car on East Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station, near Longfellow Drive.

While on the way to the scene, the ambulance personnel learned that both the motorcycle and its motorcyclist were on fire, the ambulance company said.

When they arrived on scene, the responders found a conscious man complaining of pain to his right leg, and he had severe burns on about 10 percent of his body.

According to the ambulance company, the responders hooked up the man to an IV and gave him pain medication on the way to Nassau University Medical Center.

The road was closed in both directions while the scene was cleaned up.

A car crashed into a guardrail on Route 347 and caught fire early Saturday morning, killing the elderly woman inside.

The Suffolk County Police Department said the woman, a 77-year-old Port Jefferson Station resident, had been driving west in a 2006 Chrysler 300 on the road, just past Old Town Road, at about 5 a.m. when she hit the guardrail.

The woman, whom police did not identify, was pronounced dead at the scene, but it was not immediately clear whether she died in the crash or the ensuing fire.

Police impounded her car for a safety check.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 6th Squad are investigating the East Setauket single-car crash. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-854-8652.

A crime of fashion
Suffolk County police said a 34-year-old woman from Smithtown was arrested in Smithtown on Aug. 9 and charged with two counts of petit larceny. Police said she stole assorted cosmetics valued at $250 from a CVS in Nesconset on Smithtown Boulevard, on April 24 and 27. She was arrested at the 4th Precinct at 10:15 a.m.

Drug seller caught
A 22-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested in Smithtown on Aug. 8 and charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a narcotic with intent to sell. Police said he was arrested at his home on Portion Road and was in possession of heroin.

Busted with two drugs
Police said a 49-year-old Smithtown man was arrested on Aug. 8 and charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said he was arrested on Brooksite Drive in Smithtown. The man was driving a 1996 Lincoln northbound with a flat tire. After cops stopped him, they found him in possession of two drugs — heroin and cocaine.

King of beers
A 55-year-old man from Kings Park was arrested on Aug. 9 in Kings Park and charged with petit larceny. Police said he stole three cans of Red Stripe beer and a package of toilet paper from a Smithtown Stop & Shop at 6:20 p.m. on July 31.

Door damaged
A Rite Aid pharmacy on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station reported on Aug. 5 that a rear door had been damaged.

Fat lip
A man required medical attention at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson on Aug. 9 after he was punched in the right eye and lip, causing a laceration. The incident occurred at 3:45 a.m. by Tommy’s Place on Main Street.

Rear window
A 2006 Nissan parked at a residence on Main Street in Port Jefferson was damaged on Aug. 8, between 5 and 6:30 a.m. The car’s rear window was reportedly broken.

Bang Bang
A Thompson Street resident in Port Jefferson reported on Aug. 5 that between 12:22 and 12:31 a.m., an unknown person was banging a large rock on their 1999 Oldsmobile parked in the driveway.

Back it up
A Peachtree Lane resident in Mount Sinai reported, on Aug. 6, that a person claiming to be from the IRS called their home and said they owed back taxes.

Upsetting
A woman on Tyler Avenue in Miller Place reported receiving numerous threatening phone calls from an upset man on Aug. 5.

Toyota thief
An unknown person stole items, including sunglasses and a phone charger, from a 2010 Toyota parked at a residence on Cedar Drive in Miller Place on Aug. 5.

Bottoming out
The owner of a 2003 Infiniti reported the vehicle’s undercarriage was damaged while it was parked on Tall Tree Lane in Rocky Point on Aug. 9.

Liar, liar, shoes on fire
A 57-year-old woman was arrested in Centereach on Aug. 9 and charged with fourth-degree arson. According to police, the women set fire to several boxes in front of Payless ShoeSource in Centereach and the front of the store caught fire.

Thirsty
An unknown person threw a glass Snapple bottle through a window of a Rosemary Lane home on Aug. 9, between 1:10 and 10:15 p.m.

Unholy
A 2015 Mazda parked at Grace Presbyterian Church in Selden was damaged on Aug. 9, between 7:45 and 9:20 p.m. Police said the vehicle’s front passenger side window was smashed and a purse was stolen from inside.

Zoom
A 2006 Suzuki ATV was stolen from the shed of a Wyandotte Street residence in Selden between Aug. 5 and Aug. 6.

Game over
Suffolk County police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a man who allegedly robbed a store in Centereach last month.
The man entered GameStop, located at 201 Centereach Mall, on July 25, at approximately 8:30 p.m., put his hand under his shirt and demanded cash, police said. An employee complied and the man fled on foot in the shopping center.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

DWAI déjà vu
A 29-year-old woman from Centereach was arrested in Stony Brook on Aug. 7 and charged with driving while ability impaired, with a prior conviction in 10 years. The woman was arrested at Stony Brook University Hospital after she crashed her 2004 Nissan into a telephone pole while driving on Nichols Road. Police said she was on prescription pills.

Faucet tapped
Someone stole a faucet from Lowe’s home improvement store on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook on Aug. 6 at 2:07 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Money, laptop stolen
Someone took cash, a laptop computer and a debit card from a 2014 Jeep Cherokee parked at AMC Loews Stony Brook 17 movie theater on Aug. 5 at 8:30 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Movie theater mischief
Someone took an iPhone and broke the passenger side window of a 2014 Jeep parked at AMC Loews Stony Brook 17 movie theater on Aug. 5 at 8:30 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Jeep damaged
Both side mirrors of a 2014 Jeep parked on Old Post Road in East Setauket were damaged by an unknown person on Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Not set in stone
Someone took a $100 stone monument from a residence on Pond Path in East Setauket on Aug. 5 at 11:30 a.m. There have been no arrests.

Botox lifted
Someone took Botox from a laboratory at on Research Way in Stony Brook on Aug. 4 at 12:30 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Devil’s in the details
Someone took a car detailing kit from Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on Aug. 6 at 8:40 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Jewelry, cash stolen
Jewelry and cash were stolen from a residence on Sheep Pasture Road in East Setauket on Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m. There have been no arrests.

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The early morning fire sent one emergency responder to the hospital. Photo by Jeff Bressler

Marquette Drive in St. James became ground zero over the weekend after an early morning fire took over a residential home and sent one firefighter to the hospital, officials said.

The blaze broke out around 2:10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9, when the Smithtown Fire Department received a report of a structural fire with possible occupants inside the home, Public Information Officer Jeff Bressler said.

The early morning fire sent one emergency responder to the hospital. Photo by Jeff Bressler
The early morning fire sent one emergency responder to the hospital. Photo by Jeff Bressler

The ferocious fight sent one Smithtown firefighter to Stony Brook University Hospital to be treated for a minor injury associated with the emergency response, Bressler said.

“Upon arrival, the call was upgraded to a fully involved structural fire,” Bressler said. “Three occupants were assisted out of the house before units arrived. The occupants were taken by the Smithtown Fire Department and Kings Park Fire Department ambulances to Stony Brook University Medical Center.”

Bressler said emergency responders deployed two hoses to fight the flames and also utilized a ladder from Company 7 for assistance.

At one point, the flames became so out of control that the fire started to spread to an adjacent house before being put out with significant damage to the siding, Bressler said.

By the time the blaze had been doused, Smithtown saw emergency response assistance from fire departments in St. James, Nesconset, Hauppauge, Kings Park and Nissequogue, Bressler said.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, Bressler said.

Fire district offering $1,000 reward

The Lake Grove playground that was set on fire on Sunday, July 26. Photo from Centereach Fire District

The Centereach Fire District is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for burning down a playground at Eugene Auer Elementary School.

On Sunday, July 26, Centereach firefighters responded to a call for a fire behind the Lake Grove school, according to a press release from the fire district. The plastic playground was fully engulfed, but the fire quickly put out. However, the playground was destroyed.

“This wasn’t just any playground,” Fire Commissioner Julia Wilson said. “The community pitched in, joined together and raised money to erect it.”

The Suffolk County Police Department is investigating the Sunday night incident.

The board of fire commissioners unanimously voted to offer a $1,000 reward at their meeting last week. Anyone with information related to the crime, is asked to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS (8477) or submit the information electronically at www.tipsubmit.com.