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N. Babylon firefighter suffers burns at landfill blaze

A North Babylon firefighter suffered second and third-degree burns Wednesday when a fire engine valve spewed hot steam onto his chest and arms while fighting a landfill fire in East Northport.

North Babylon Fire Chief John Schneidawin said the firefighter's injuries are not life-threatening and that he was in good spirits at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

"He's doing well, his spirits are well," Schneidawin said. Schneidawin refused to release the firefighter's name, he said, because of federal privacy laws.

Schneidawin said how the firefighter became injured is still under investigation, but a Suffolk County source said the burns were the result of a fire truck's valve unexpectedly emitting a rush of steam. It was unclear whether there was a mechanical failure or a human error, the source said.

The firefighter was taken by helicopter to the hospital in Stony Brook, where he was in stable condition Wednesday night.

Schneidawin said the firefighter had been with the department for "about seven years."

In a separate brush fire in Cold Spring Harbor Wednesday, two firefighters were taken to Syosset Hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion, said Cold Spring Harbor Fire Chief Chris Ingwersen.

Firefighters closed a stretch of Route 108 to battle the blaze, which covered an area roughly 1,000 feet square encompassing land owned by the Nature Conservancy and the Greenbelt Trail, Ingwersen said. The road was expected to be reopened Wednesday night.

No other injuries or property damage were reported from either fire, officials said.

With Ben Wieder

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