Hydrant in Holtsville fire frozen

The scene of house fire on Glide Lane The scene of house fire on Glide Lane in Holtsville early Thursday morning. Frozen hydrants prevented firefighters from getting water on the fire sooner, officials said. (Feb. 3, 2011) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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A frozen fire hydrant delayed the Holbrook Fire Department's efforts Thursday morning in extinguishing a Holtsville house fire, fire officials said.

The fire department responded to a call for a fire on Glide Lane at 5:36 a.m., Chief Joseph Fannon said.

All three family members living at the residence were able to escape before firefighters arrived, Fannon said.

But firefighters were delayed several minutes as they dug a plug of ice from a frozen hydrant. As one group tried to free the frozen hydrant, Fannon said, another group extended hoses to a different hydrant about 200 to 300 feet away.

"It slowed us down a little bit and we were delayed from attacking the fire by a few minutes," he said. But Fannon said he did not think the extra time connecting to the second hydrant was much of a factor in the overall damage to the house.

There were no injuries, but there was significant damage to the home's second floor and attic, he said.

Fannon said although neither of the hydrants used was buried in snow, he reiterated a request by fire authorities that residents clear buried fire hydrants in their neighborhoods, after Long Island recorded a record January snowfall of more than 30 inches.

Fannon said buried hydrants remain an issue and asked that residents pitch in and clear snow wherever possible.

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