By RICHARD LIEBSON, THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: October 16, 2003)
GREENBURGH, NY Two firefighters suffered second-degree burns yesterday when superheated gases in a burning Greenburgh house exploded, sending a ball of fire through the second floor. “The guys were up there with a hose line and were able to recognize the conditions just before the flashover,” Fairview Fire Chief Robert Mauro said of the blaze at 357 County Center Road. “They were making their way down the stairs, protecting their escape with the hose, when the fire flashed over. They got steam burns but were able to get down to the first floor. The backup crew went in immediately, took their oxygen tanks off of them, and got them outside. It was a textbook job.”
The names of the injured firefighters were not released. Mauro said one was treated at the Westchester Medical Center’s Burn Unit and released; the other was being held there overnight for observation. Another firefighter was released from the medical center in Valhalla after being treated for smoke inhalation. A fourth was taken to White Plains Hospital Center, where he was being treated for heat exhaustion and high blood pressure. Mauro said that firefighter was expected to be released late yesterday.
All of the injured firefighters were treated and transported by Greenburgh police paramedics. “It was a difficult call, with a lot of fire and smoke all through the house,” Mauro said. “The guys took a beating, but they were resolute and they just kept at it. They were more stubborn than the fire was. I’m very proud of them.”
The fire was reported about 9:20 a.m. by a neighbor who smelled smoke. Mauro said the owners, the Mosley family, were not home when firefighters arrived a few minutes later, but that their son, who the chief said appeared to be in his 20s, was standing in front of the house. “There was a lot of smoke and there was fire concealed in the walls of the attic, both floors and the basement,” Mauro said. “We fought it aggressively for a good 45 minutes before we got it under control.” About 35 firefighters from Fairview, Hartsdale, Greenville, Elmsford and White Plains fought the blaze which, Mauro said, caused extensive damage to the beige, vinyl-sided house. He did not have a damage estimate. “It will be significant,” he said.
Fairview’s cause and origin team was at the house yesterday afternoon trying to determine what started the fire, which Mauro said did not appear to be suspicious. Fire officials said the Mosleys were being put up at a local hotel last night by the Westchester chapter of the American Red Cross.