L.I. Wildfire Under Control; Gov. Cuomo Declares State Of Emergency For Suffolk Co.
MANORVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The wildfire burning on Long Island is under control Tuesday night.
The flames died down and revealed the damage left behind, including charred homes and property. However, there is also a lingering danger as firefighters still work to keep hotspots from flaring up again.
While the clean up is just beginning for some, so is the recovery for a firefighter trapped in the flames.
It was a wall of flames that surrounded a brush truck and the three firefighters on it, including Bill Hille, a husband and father released from the hospital Tuesday night.
The volunteer’s mother, Frances Hille, said her son suffered second-degree burns to his hand, ears, nose, cheek and neck.
“God is good. Really and truly God is good,” she told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
“The guys just ran for their lives through the woods. They ended up diving into a pond as the fire went past them,” said First Asst. Manorville Fire Chief Howard Snow.
Two hours later, the firefighters were found after fearing the worst.
Earlier Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Suffolk County after touring the scene. Saying that the situation “could’ve been a lot worse,” Cuomo added the emergency declaration would help clear the way for the state to provide financial assistance to local officials.
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The governor stated that the response was an example of a case where “government acted better than you could have expected.”
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For homeowners like Ray Krieger of Manorville, the fire was a cruel game of chance.
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“The fire came to the end of the woods…from there it was blowing embers. You got sections of stockade fence untouched; right next to it there are piles of ash,” Krieger told CBS 2’s Lou Young. “It just burned things in places and left other things.”
Flames spread quickly Monday and charred the Moretti family’s garage, part of their home and backyard.
“The flames were 30, 40 feet above the trees it looked like,” George Moretti told CBS 2’s Emily Smith.
Moretti and his family were part of a mandatory evacuation on Oakwood Drive in Manorville. As the fire rushed toward their home, they grabbed the essentials, not knowing what might happen.
“We said if anything like this ever happens, you grab the family photo albums and the important papers and you go and that’s what we did. The car was loaded with 40 years of photo albums,” Moretti said.
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State police helicopters dropped buckets of water on hot spots Tuesday afternoon. The fire has scorched nearly 1,000 acres in the areas of Manorville and Ridge, destroying three homes along with a commercial property and forcing residents to evacuate. Dozens of homes are without power.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports
State Commissioner of Homeland Security Jerome Hauer said officials were hoping to have the fire under control by the end of the day Tuesday.
Officials praised the work of local fire departments and volunteers who have been working through the night to fight and monitor the blaze.
“Because of the quick actions that were taken last night, the fire has not grown anymore,” Hauer said. “The county has done a terrific job and we’ll do whatever we can to support them to keep this under control.”
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Meanwhile, officials with the Red Cross said they have been assisting families who were forced out their homes.
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