UPDATE, FRIDAY, 1 p.m.:
According to Southampton Village Police, the victim, identified as Ona R. Masters, 95, died at Southampton Hospital as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Southampton Fire Department First Lieutenant Alfred Callahan said a Stop & Shop Pea Pod delivery man called for help, and Captain Rogoski was the first on the scene. When he heard that someone was inside, he made a push into the fully involved home to find the elderly woman. Chief Pierson arrived shortly after and also attempted to get into the building. The Chief heard the woman yelling but was unable to locate her because the smoke and heat were becoming “unbearable,” he said. Neither of them had time to put on equipment and “made the push completely unprotected.”
When the crews arrived, they made another push into the smoke-filled home. Second Lieutenant Christopher Capalbo and his crew went down a narrow hallway, while Lt. Shimkus and Chief Kampf searched the bedroom where they found the woman under a bed, Lt. Callahan said.
“I grabbed Lt. Capalbo, being the closest one to me, and pointed into the room,” Lt. Callahan said. “As I cleared a path back to the front door, Chief Kampf and Lt. Shimkus handed the victim to Lt. Capalbo who followed me out with the victim.”
According to SVVA Assistant Chief Mark Klinger, the woman was pulled from the fire without a pulse and was not breathing. Lt. Callahan said he began CPR with the assistance of Southampton Village Police Officer Michael Horstman until SVVA crews arrived. Resuscitation efforts were continued on the scene and during the transport to the hospital, and led by critical care technician Briana Seltenreich, which included CPR by Mechanical CPR device called the LUCAS 2, IV therapy, and airway management, according to Mr. Klinger.
By the time she arrived at the hospital, the woman had a sustainable pulse and blood pressure, but was in critical condition, he said.
“All agencies involved worked extremely well together yesterday, and there is no better example than this that demonstrates how well this local system works,” he added.
Lt. Callahan felt equally as confident in the system: “The actions of Chief Pierson and Captain Rogoski were heroic and went above and beyond the call of duty. The entire crew worked as one unit, as a perfect team. There is no better feeling than knowing the many hours of training and time these crews put in actually matter for something.”
The home on Bellows Lane that went up in flames on Thursday evening belongs to Ona and Margery Masters, and according to the Southampton Fire Department, there was only one, elderly woman at the home at the time of the fire.
Southampton Village and Town fire marshals are still investigating the cause of the fire.
UPDATE, Thursday, 9:11 p.m.:
Fire Chief Rodney “Chip” Pierson called it “the proudest moment of my career by far” as he recounted how a combination of firefighters and police rescued an elderly woman from a burning house on Bellows Lane Thursday evening.
A call came in from a delivery driver at approximately 5:30 p.m., reporting smoke at a residence he was slated to deliver to. Chief Pierson was among the first on the scene, within two minutes of the call; he had been watching his daughter play field hockey at Southampton High School not far from the house at 30 Bellows Lane (the address was incorrect in the original report). When Southampton Fire Department crews arrived a short time later, the house was half-involved and quickly became fully involved, the chief said.
Firefighters, including Chief Pierson and Captain Steve Rogoski, were among the group of six to eight policemen and other responders who attempted to save the elderly woman from the flames. Heavy smoke and fire barred them from doing so until the trucks arrived shortly thereafter. They were then able to save the woman, who was trapped in her bedroom.
Second Assistant Chief Michael Kampf and Lieutenant Matt Shimkus grabbed the woman, rescuing her from the burning house.
“They did great,” Chief Pierson said. “I’ve been in the department for 20 years, and this is second time ever that we made a grab and got someone out of a burning building. This is the proudest moment of my career by far. I can’t explain it in words.”
Lt. Shimkus and Captain Rogoski were taken to Southampton Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Chief Pierson said they are in stable condition but still at the hospital “getting checked over.”
Approximately 60 Southampton Fire Department firefighters responded, as well as firefighters from Sag Harbor and Hampton Bays, “because it is important to have the manpower there when the smoke is flowing like that, because it spends the guys real fast,” Chief Pierson said. North Sea Fire Department was on standby.