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LFD Almost Loses Truck While Helping to Battle LI Brush Fire

Chief Jim Gallagher tells Patch no one was hurt, but firefighters were forced to leave behind department's largest engine - which was later retrieved.

The headed out Monday night to join the Suffolk County-wide effort to contain and extinguish the massive that broke out on the yesterday afternoon.

The effort to contain the blaze was a major mobilization, with 109 fire departments sending help and a state of emergency for Suffolk County declared on Tuesday morning by Executive .

"At about 5 p.m. last night we headed out with three chiefs, about 25 men, the 162 engine and the big Army truck, 1625," LFD told Lindenhurst Patch on Tuesday afternoon.

Engine 162 went to Manorville, he said, to help contain the houses that were set on fire by the main brush fire.

"And 1625 went into the woods at about 7 p.m. last night," Gallagher said.

The 1625 rig is the LFD's largest engine and is used as the department's forest truck. It was also used during Hurricane/Tropical Storm last during the Village's south of Montauk Highway.

Gallagher said no one was hurt while battling the blazes, but at about 9 p.m. the situation became precarious for the firefighters on engine 1625.

"At that time they got turned around to the point where they were lost inside the woods," Gallagher told Patch. "I had the help of the Ridge Fire Department, and we were able to find them and get the guys out."

That took about an hour and a half, and the rig had to be left behind because of mechanical problems.

"The truck stalled inside the fire, so we had to leave it and go back for it later," the chief said, who, after getting home at about 3:30 a.m., went back to retrieve the truck at 7 a.m.

"I went with ex-chief , Second Assistant Chief Mike DeGregorio and Third Assistant Chief Paul Vinciguerra to get the truck back out," he said.

In fact, when Gallagher spoke with Patch Tuesday afternoon, he was on his way back with the 1625 fire truck.

"It'll be out of service, and actually we're having a problem with it now on the way back," he said.

To get the firefighters through the night, the chief noted members of the LFD's Ladies' Auxiliary brought them food.

The LFD's job on the is done for now, according to Gallagher, but the Red Flag Warning of critical fire weather conditions of low humidity and high winds issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect for Lindenhurst, Suffolk County and the rest of the New York Metropolitan area through 8 p.m.

So Gallagher advised Lindenhurst residents to be careful with lit cigarettes and matches.

"It's very dry out there," said Gallagher, who added that the next item on the agenda for the LFD is to take part in the Lindenhurst National Little League Opening Day on Sunday, April 15.

The parade will begin at 12:45 p.m. at the Village Square at East Hoffman and North Wellwood Avenues and head toward Edward F. Kienle field in Firemen’s Park.

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