Five volunteer firefighters—including two who were hurt when the first floor of the house collapsed beneath them—were rushed to area hospitals early Monday morning with non-life threatening injuries suffered while battling an overnight blaze at a residence on Quail Run in Hampton Bays, according to Hampton Bays Fire Department officials.
Two firefighters—identified by various sources as Lewis Scott and Shay Lohr—fell into the home’s basement after the floor collapsed shortly after firefighters entered the building. One suffered a head injury, and had to be transported via Suffolk County Police helicopter to Stony Brook University Medical Center, according to Southampton Town Police. The other was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue and treated for burns to his head, neck, face and hands, according to police. He was later transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center.
The other three Hampton Bays firefighters all suffered undisclosed injuries while battling the blaze and were taken to Southampton Hospital.
Hampton Bays Fire Department Chief Stefan Borell did not return multiple calls left at the firehouse and on his cell phone this week. Fire officials stationed at the department’s main firehouse on Montauk Highway on Tuesday evening did not answer the door when a reporter stopped by seeking additional information.
Hampton Bays fire officials declined to identify any of the injured firefighters, though police officials confirmed on Monday afternoon that one was Mr. Scott, a Southampton Town Police sergeant. The extent of his injuries was unclear.
Southampton Town Police Sergeant Michael Zarro, a longtime volunteer with the Hampton Bays Fire Department and a colleague of Sgt. Scott, said his coworker and Mr. Lohr were the only two firemen inside the two-story house at 27 Quail Run when the first floor collapsed. Sgt. Zarro said he and other firefighters were outside the home, waiting for permission to enter, when the two firefighters fell into the basement.
Sgt. Zarro said there was “intense heat coming from the basement,” noting that volunteers also had to contend with “very thick, black, blinding smoke.”
“Every truck in the barn was there,” said Sgt. Zarro, who added that he arrived on the last fire truck stored in the main firehouse on Montauk Highway. “East Quogue [Fire Department] arrived very soon after.”
Officials noted that Sgt. Scott is a member of the police department’s dive team and a longtime Hampton Bays volunteer firefighter.
Mr. Lohr, the second firefighter who fell through the floor, is still in the burn unit at Stony Brook University Medical Center, according to hospital officials. The extent of his injuries was not immediately known. Mr. Lohr has been with the fire department for at least two years and works as a masonry contractor in Hampton Bays.
Hampton Bays firefighters, meanwhile, had to return to the scene at around noon on Monday, February 14, after the house reignited. Fire officials closed off the road to vehicular traffic while volunteers worked to extinguish the blaze for a second time. The second fire was put out within an hour of the fire department’s arrival, according to fire officials.
The Hampton Bays Fire Department originally responded to several calls regarding the fire at 12:18 a.m. on Monday and found the first floor of the residence engulfed in flames, Chief Borell stated in a press release. All the occupants had fled the burning structure before firefighters arrived on the scene. None of the home’s occupants was injured, according to fire officials.
Shortly after firefighters entered the building on Monday morning, the first floor collapsed, causing two volunteers to fall into the basement of the burning home. The three other injured firefighters were taken to Southampton Hospital.
Southampton Town Fire Marshal Brian Williams said on Wednesday that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, noting that he hopes to learn the cause of the fire early next week.
According to town records, the 3,300-square-foot home at 27 Quail Run is owned by John and Michelle Ferguson. When approached outside their home on Monday, the homeowners declined to comment.
The East Quogue, Flanders and Southampton fire departments all responded to the initial call and helped extinguish the fire at around 2 a.m., according to Chief Borell.
Volunteer firefighters with the Westhampton Beach Fire Department faced a similar situation in November 2008, while battling a blaze that gutted the Griffing Avenue home owned by former Suffolk County Legislator George O. Guldi. In that instance, firefighters were able to save a fellow volunteer before he fell 8 feet and into the home’s basement, where the fire started, because he was holding a handline, a hose used to fight fires.