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Helmet-cam captures Farmingdale firefighters entering blaze

Firefighter John Senia captured video with a camera

Firefighter John Senia captured video with a camera on his helmet during a fire call in Farmingdale. The video has since been shared on YouTube and visited thousands of times. Warning: Video contains explicit language. (Dec. 28, 2013) Credit: YouTube

John Senia studies fire science at Nassau Community College in hopes of someday joining the New York City Fire Department.

But the 19-year-old says the practical experience he’s getting as a Farmingdale Fire Department volunteer is invaluable. Now, two videos showing him fighting a fire Saturday morning -- which he caught on a camera attached to his helmet -- tell the story of his training as well as anything can.

The videos, shot with a Fire Cam device on the left side of Senia’s helmet, show him and Farmingdale Fire Department Capt. Ryan Tortoso, 30, entering the basement dwelling of a home on Vernon Street in Farmingdale. Tortoso said the fire apparently started when a power surge caused a coffee maker to ignite.

Senia, who has been with the department as a member of its Junior Brigade since he was 15, entered carrying the hose. Tortoso joined him, carrying a thermal imaging camera to direct Senia where to shoot the hose in the thick smoke.

The videos, which total 22 minutes and 28 seconds, begin with Senia picking up his helmet when the call was made at 8:37 a.m., and ends with him exiting the basement. The first video, at 13 minutes 24 seconds long, had gotten more than 8,200 YouTube views as of noon on Tuesday. The second, at just over 9 minutes, had more than 3,000 views.

“When I joined the department I started learning from Day 1,” Senia said Tuesday at the department on Main Street in Farmingdale, where he also works as a paid dispatcher. “The training is spectacular. The guys here have been to a lot of fires in a lot of situations. I’m glad he [Tortoso] was by my side for the whole fire.”

Tortoso has been a FDNY firefighter for six years, and said Farmingdale department members looked at the video -- synced to recordings of their audio transmissions -- on Monday night for training purposes. He said while there’s always new things that can be learned, “For the most part everything went very smoothly.”

The department’s work prevented the fire from engulfing the entire house.

“I love helping people out, and I also love the adrenaline rush of going on a call,” Senia said.

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