Mineola Fire Department News (2003)

By: 2nd Asst. Chief Scott Holliday
December was a busy month for the volunteers of the Mineola Fire Department. They faced two major snowstorms, 30 fire alarms and continued their annual tradition of Operation Santa. These brave volunteers accomplished all this work as they made their own preparations to celebrate the holiday season with their friends and family. During the first major snowstorm Chief of Department Scott Strauss placed the firefighters on standby in their quarters. This was done so that emergency responses could be managed in a safe and expeditious manner without any interruptions due to the severe weather. A total of 971 manpower hours were volunteered by the firefighters from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5 until noon on Sunday, Dec. 7. The members turned their company rooms into bunkrooms and spent the weekend in quarters assuring a quick response during the snow emergency.

The Mineola Fire Department's Annual Operation Santa was again a huge success. Coordinated by ex-Chief Gary V. Mazur the members of all three companies and the Junior Fire Department assisted Santa and his helpers, Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman, in visiting Mineola children at their homes. This annual tradition is a highlight for all involved. The smiles and excitement on the children's faces as Santa pays them a visit is immeasurable. We don't know who has more fun, the children or the firefighters.

On the serious side, Mineola's Bravest responded to 30 alarms during the month of December. Twenty calls were for automatic fire alarms. This included the treacherous gas leak at Winthrop-University Hospital on Dec. 19. The quick response and actions taken by the firefighters that afternoon averted a tragedy of catastrophic proportions. Two calls were received for wires burning and natural gas leaks and one call each was received for a building fire, hazardous materials spill, smoke in the area, unusual odor and a burning fluorescent fixture ballast. The Mineola Fire Department also responded to a car fire on Roosevelt Place. A resident's car was damaged by fire under suspicious circumstances and the Nassau County Police and Fire Marshal's Office are handling the investigation. Fourteen alarms came in between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., 10 between 4 p.m. and 12 midnight and overnight from midnight to 8 a.m., six calls were answered. In-house training and drills continued throughout the month on Sunday mornings and Monday nights and the firefighters are preparing to take a seven-night course in Hazardous Materials Operations with the Nassau County Fire Service Academy in January and February.

Thousands of hours of work are donated every year by Mineola volunteer firefighters, saving village residents millions of tax dollars. If you would like to take the challenge of becoming one of Mineola's Bravest, call the chief's office at 747-5860 or stop by either of the firehouses. We are also on the web at www.mineolafd.com. Extend your boundaries, become a firefighter, become a hero.

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