Stranded motorists weren’t the only ones in need of rescue Thursday — the Islip Fire Department said its members banded together to recover an American flag that had come loose in the storm.
Fire officials said in a Facebook post that members of the community had called around 3:15 p.m. about the flag at the Islip McDonald’s on Main Street. The flag had come loose in the high winds and “was seen strewn about the road and lawn as it fell off the pole.”
“We could not sit idly by as Old Glory laid limp and lifeless along the snow packed ground,” the post said.
Five firefighters headed to the scene, about a half-mile from the firehouse, where they found the restaurant closed, officials said. The group removed the flag and brought it back to the firehouse, where they held a 13-fold flag ceremony.
The department said its was holding on to the flag until the restaurant’s owner could come pick it up.
The Facebook post showing photos of the “rescue” earned praise and brought renewed attention to the Islip McDonald’s. The restaurant experienced another flag flap in January when staff members accidentally hung the banner upside down. The store’s owner apologized for that mistake at the time and said the error was corrected as soon as employees noticed it.
“The snow storm brought down our flag earlier today, and we are grateful to the Islip Fire Department for rescuing it from damage,” McDonald’s owner and operator Katie Hunt Rotolo said in a statement.
“The men and women of our Fire Department are out in our community every day ensuring our safety and wellbeing, and we are always appreciative of everything they do,” she added.
The restaurant’s owners were in touch with fire officials Thursday night and said they would be investigating how the incident happened.