Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Vigilant Fire Company Honors Departed Members with Apparatus Dedication

Contact: Josh Forst, Chief                                                                                                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Telephone: 516-487-1086          
Email: jforst@gnfd.org

Website: www.vigilantfd.com

Vigilant Fire Company Honors Departed Members with Apparatus Dedication

Great Neck Plaza, NY - Sunday, June 26, 2016, outside of the Vigilant Fire house, under the blazing early summer sun, the members of the Vigilant Fire Company joined together to dedicate Engine 8314 in memory of Warren “Doc” Hecht and Tower Ladder 8324 in memory of Chief Clarence “Larry” Fischer.

Chief Josh Forst who led the dedication said of Doc Hecht, it’s fitting that we honor Doc’s memory with this dedication as he always was one of the first members on the engine ready to respond. A true leader among the members, Doc would compete with the younger members to arrive first at the firehouse during a fire call. He believed that the Vigilant Fire Company was about being there for one another, whatever the need was that arose, truly community service oriented. His wife Gilda with their 4 children Honey, Ricki, Steve, and Mora represented Doc’s memory and shared in the dedication.

Of Chief Fischer, Chief Forst said, “Larry Fischer joined the Vigilant Fire Company in 1957. He was the model Chief and someone I wish I had around to speak with based on things I have heard about him. Sadly, I never got to meet him.” Chief Fischer was an officer during some of the largest fires ever seen in Great Neck. Certainly a Tower Ladder would have been used at most if not all of them. Therefore, the dedication of the Tower Ladder was made to him. “…he was a man who was always available to the membership, love speaking about fire department techniques, loved his family, played a mean game of pool, and made the best cup of coffee in town. Chief Fischer’s wife Joanne and daughter Sheila helped dedicate Tower Ladder 8324 to his memory.

The event was a great trip down memory lane for many of the members who have more than 3 decades of service and who rode with Chief Fischer and Doc Hecht. Hearing the stories of their harrowing acts for our newer members was inspiring. We hope that we will all carry the memories of these two impressive members every day when we ride on these pieces of apparatus.

The Vigilant Fire Company is an all volunteer fire company which provides fire and heavy rescue services to the villages of Great Neck Plaza, Kensington, Great Neck Estates, parts of Thomaston and the unincorporated area of the Town of North Hempstead on the Great Neck Peninsula.  The Vigilant Fire Company also provides all emergency medical services for the entire peninsula from the Long Island Railroad tracks north to the Long Island Sound.  Annually, the membership receives nearly 2,500 calls for emergency assistance.  To report a fire or medical emergency call 516-482-5000.  For other non-emergency questions call 516-487-1086 or email info@gnfd.org.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Vigilant Volunteers Extinguish House Fire

On Sunday, May 29, 2016, around 8:20 PM the Vigilant Fire Company was notified of a reported house fire in the Village of Great Neck Estates.  Immediately, upon the receipt of the initial phone call, First Assistant Chief, Josh Charry began responding from the fire house.  Upon arrival at the fire scene, about 1 mile from the fire house, Chief Charry transmitted the “Signal 10 – working fire”. On the transmission of the working fire, 2 engines and 1 ladder from the Alert Fire Company and a FAST team (firefighter assistance) from the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department were requested to respond mutual aid to the fire.

Moments later, Chief of Department Josh Forst arrived on scene and assumed command. Chief Forst reported that he had a large house with a fire on the first floor. Minutes after that, Engine 8314 driven by 2nd Lieutenant Oginski was on scene. A primary attack line was stretched from the engine to extinguish the first floor fire.  Quick work by Assistant Chief Charry, EMS Lieutenant Behnam, Engineer Ramsingh and Probationary firefighter Shavolian extinguished a great deal of the fire to reduce extension and damage to the rest of the home. The family was home at the time, their smoke alarm alerted them to the fire and they were able to remove themselves from the house quickly before the fire spread up the interior stairs.
Ladder 8312 driven by firefighter Monahemi arrived as an additional precautionary hand line was being stretched. Firefighter Monahemi at the direction of Chief Forst placed the aerial ladder into the attic window to ensure a safe egress for any members operating on the upper floor and effect rescue of civilians if necessary. Because of the large floor plan of the home a tremendous amount of smoke needed to be vented from the structure. While this took some extra time, the fire was placed under control about 1 hour after the initial alarm. There were no injuries reported to firefighters or civilians at the scene, however sadly, 2 domestic pets succumbed to the smoke and toxins in the home. The Nassau County Fire Marshal determined that the fire was unfortunately caused by an overloaded electric strip running among other things a portable air conditioner.

All units were back in service just after midnight on Monday. And the dedicated volunteers were ready for the 2016 Memorial Day Parade in the morning.