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Hicksville High boiler fire causes large fuel spill

A basement fire at Hicksville High School last night caused a heating fuel tank to rupture and spill 500 gallons of diesel oil, but damage was confined primarily to the boiler room, fire officials said.

Hicksville Chief Eddie Korona said an automatic alarm alerted firefighters about 7 p.m. Firefighters arrived to find about 40 students and several teachers in another section of the sprawling building, unaware of the fire.

The students and teachers, who were there for an extracurricular program, left the building without incident or injuries, Korona said. One firefighter was treated at a hospital for minor neck and back pain, he said.

"We contained it to the basement, and minor damage to the roof," Korona said. "No damage to classrooms at all."

About 125 firefighters from five departments responded to the alarm and knocked down the fire within 20 minutes, he said. Nassau County Fire Marshal officers came to investigate, but the apparent oil burner fire was not considered suspicious, Korona said.

Firefighters spread foam in the basement to reduce the chance of the spilled diesel fuel from igniting, and the county's hazmat specialists were alerted to oversee the cleanup.

Hicksville school officials could not be reached for comment. The school is closed this week for winter break. Korona declined to speculate whether the fire might delay the resumption of regular classes next week.

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