Officials: Fighting 'tough fire' in Central Islip home hampered by frozen hydrant

Firefighters battle a fire at a home on Firefighters battle a fire at a home on Storey Avenue in Central Islip Tuesday. One firefighter was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, police and fire officials said. (Jan. 28, 2014) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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A mattress fire spread inside a Central Islip home Tuesday morning and grew into a blaze fought by six departments as one hydrant froze and another didn't work at all, authorities said.

The residents at 43 Storey Ave. escaped without getting hurt, but one firefighter with minor injuries was treated and released from Stony Brook University Hospital, rescue and Islip Town officials said.

An occupant tried to drag the burning mattress outside, but it was futile, Suffolk police said.

When firefighters arrived, the flames were burning from the first floor to the second, said Patrick Murphy, third assistant chief of the Central Islip Fire Department.

"It was a tough fire, tough conditions," he said.

In the middle of hosing the house, the hydrant malfunctioned and the flow of water dropped drastically, he said.

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Firefighters went to the second closest hydrant, but it was frozen, the assistant chief said.

"We ended up going around the block to find a hydrant," Murphy said. "We had to pull everybody out and regroup."

The flames spread as firefighters looked for options. A water tanker from Long Island MacArthur Airport went to the scene, but in the end it did not have to be used, officials said.

In temperatures stuck in the teens, firefighters quickly stretched hoses down the block to the house, authorities said.

"Ten minutes in a fire is an hour," Murphy said. "Very frustrating."

It took about 75 firefighters to knock out the fire just before 2 p.m., he said.

The damage was so bad that Islip Town officials declared the house uninhabitable and will send inspectors to check on its structural integrity. Five to seven people lived in the house, a town spokeswoman said.

The fire does not appear to be suspicious, police said.

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Murphy praised firefighters for battling the frigid conditions. The other departments that responded were from Islip, Islip Terrace, East Islip, Hauppauge and Brentwood, he said.

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