MFD, MVAC Respond to Accident

Firefighters Assist in Rescue Effort

Article from the Mineola American

On Sunday May 21, 2006 at 3:45 p.m., a Nassau County Police Ambulance was responding to an assignment in Mineola when it was involved in a collision with a mini-van. The vehicles were traveling Eastbound on Jericho Turnpike at the intersection with Marcellus Road and the initial collision sent the two vehicles skidding out of control. The Ambulance went on to collide with an electrical pole. The vehicle hit with such force that the pole snapped and the Ambulance continued forward breaking through the exterior wall of the Cornerstone Restaurant. The mini-van careened across the intersection and crashed into another section of the Cornerstone Restaurant. Despite the trauma of the event, the driver of the Police Ambulance immediately broadcasted the location of the accident and requested assistance over the police radio. He advised that there were multiple injuries and several people were trapped.

Second Assistant Chief Robert Connolly was monitoring the police band when he heard the paramedics call for assistance. Chief Connolly began responding to the scene and notified FIRECOM to alert the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps (MVAC) and the Mineola Fire Department. Upon arrival, Chief Connolly found that the Police Paramedic was trapped in his ambulance and four occupants were trapped in the mini-van. The overhead power lines were now sparking and smoking. There was a partial collapse of the front wall of the restaurant. Chief Connolly relayed his initial report to First Assistant Chief Scott Holliday who was enroute.

Chief Holliday arrived on scene and assumed Command of the Fire Departments operation. The Nassau County Police Emergency Service Unit arrived on scene and began working to free the trapped Paramedic. Members of the Mineola Fire Department focused on the extrication of the occupants of the mini-van. The driver's door had been forced in and had to be opened using the Amkus Hydraulic rescue tool known as the "Jaws of Life". The passenger side door was wedged up against a parking meter and also could not be opened. Using a hydraulic rescue cutter, the meter pole was cut allowing MVAC EMT's access to the patient.

As this rescue operation was under way, firefighters also began searching the Cornerstone Restaurant to ensure that there were no additional victims inside the restaurant. Chief Holliday ordered a complete evacuation of the building until the building department could assess the damage and determine if the building was still structurally sound. Mineola Building Department Superintendent Dan Whalen was notified and responded to the scene as well as Mayor Jack Martins.

MVAC transported the Nassau County Police Department AMT and two victims while the Williston Park Fire Department transported one victim. The Nassau County Police Department transported another victim. The Nassau County Police Department Emergency Services Unit also responded to the scene.

Mineola firefighters regularly train on the tools and techniques used in Vehicle Extrication. Earlier this year the department placed a new Heavy Rescue truck into service, which is equipped with the Jaws of Life and other Rescue devices used at these types of emergencies. Anyone interested in joining the Mineola Fire Department is invited to stop down at Fire Headquarters on Jericho Turnpike on a Monday night, or you can call us at 516-747-5860. For more information on our department, visit our Website.

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