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Brookhaven to honor Shirley gas leak heroes

John Searing, Suffolk Deputy Commissioner of Fire Rescue

John Searing, Suffolk Deputy Commissioner of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, and emergency responders discuss the evacuation of local Shirley residents during a session at William Floyd High School. (Jan. 1, 2011) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

The Town of Brookhaven will host a reception Thursday to honor first responders for their efforts in the New Year’s Day gas leak in Shirley.

The town will honor volunteer firefighters, ambulance company members and Brookhaven fire marshals at Town Hall. John Stearns, president and owner of Industrial Propane & Reclamation, whose company was instrumental in stopping the leak, will also be honored.

On Jan. 1, an early morning propane tank leak behind the Kohl’s department store caused 900 homes and some businesses to be evacuated. The leak was contained, and people were allowed back into their homes that evening; no major injuries were reported.

This is the second time in recent weeks that gas leak responders have been recognized by local officials. On Jan. 9, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy presented the "key to the county" to Mastic Fire Chief Dwight Blankenship and his firefighters.

The Brookhaven event will begin at 5 p.m. with an awards ceremony; it will be followed by a dinner.

Brookhaven Town Hall is at 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville.

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