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Ladder Truck

Two Smithtown High School East coaches were trapped in a bucket truck during a homecoming football game. Photo by Steve Silverman

Two Smithtown High School East football coaches got stuck 30 feet in the air on Saturday when their hydraulic lift malfunctioned during a homecoming game.

Dix Hills firefighter Jacquelyn Stio helps coach Tim Kopiske to safety after the Smithtown High School East football coach got stuck in a malfunctioning bucket truck at a homecoming game. Photo by Steve Silverman
Dix Hills firefighter Jacquelyn Stio helps coach Tim Kopiske to safety after the Smithtown High School East football coach got stuck in a malfunctioning bucket truck at a homecoming game. Photo by Steve Silverman

The Dix Hills Fire Department came to the rescue that afternoon on the turf of the coaches’ rival, Half Hollow Hills High School East, where they were suspended in a truck’s bucket, according to Steve Silverman, a spokesman for the Town of Huntington Fire Chiefs’ Council. The volunteer firefighters brought their 75-foot ladder truck to get the coaches down, as well as other fire engines, three ambulances and first responder and paramedic units.

Personnel from the Dix Hills Rescue Squad were already on the scene with an ambulance, as they were standing by during the first football game of the season.

Silverman said the rescue was a brother-sister effort: firefighter Matt Stio climbed up and helped coach Tyler O’Neill onto the ladder and down to safety, and then sister Jacquelyn Stio scaled the ladder to do the same for coach Tim Kopiske.

The entire operation was quick, Silverman said. It was just three minutes before the firefighters were on the scene, and the coaches were brought back down to terra firma within another 15 minutes.

No one was injured.

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Photo from Jeff Bressler

The Smithtown Fire Department is in the final stages of having its historic 1935 Mack Ladder Truck fully restored. A Department Restoration Committee has been given the task of having this piece of Long Island history returned to its former glory.

The restoration is not using Fire Department funds or taxpayer dollars for the project. The entire restoration is being funded by the generosity of Smithtown Fire Department members and the general community.

For the second consecutive year the Restoration Committee will host a chicken barbecue at 5 p.m. on Aug. 1, featuring the sounds of South Bound, a popular Long Island country band. Entry is $25 in advance or $30 on the day of the event.

Last year’s event was enthusiastically received with hundreds of music lovers in attendance to enjoy a complete BBQ chicken dinner, hamburgers, hot dogs, soda, beer and wine. The event is held on the scenic Nissequogue River at the department’s River Property, located behind 419 West Main St., Smithtown.