December 19th started as a typical day for BNL firefighters. Although they are always on alert and ready to respond quickly to emergencies, this day turned out to be anything but typical. Things changed suddenly when an urgent call came in from the chief of the Ridge Fire Department, asking for assistance at a multi-vehicle accident on the Long Island Expressway (LIE) and William Floyd Parkway.
In usual fashion, without hesitation, BNL crew members William Bedula, Timothy Kelly, James Maire, Greg Meyer, Frank Palmeri, and Marcel Rosenfeld got in the emergency response car and heavy rescue truck and proceeded to the scene. Before driving off the Lab site they made sure they had the proper tools and equipment that might be required at the multi-vehicle accident scene that had been described to them on the phone.
BNL Fire Chief Charles LaSalla immediately called off-duty BNL firefighters to come in to work. “Several crew members responded to the scene on the LIE and several members remained on site to ensure continuity of assistance for our employees and visitors, and to protect the Lab site,” said LaSalla. “We are always here to help our neighbors, but BNL is our number one priority.”
The BNL fire-rescue team’s quick response and proximity to the accident made them the first crew to arrive at the scene.
“Over 30 vehicles were involved, and we could see that two cars were on fire,” said BNL Fire Captain Marcel Rosenfeld. “We immediately started a search for trapped victims.”
Rosenfeld located one trapped victim and the BNL crew was able to extricate that person using a tool called the “Jaws of Life.” The crew provided immediate medical attention for this victim while other crew members continued to search for others who might be trapped. Luckily, no additional people were trapped.
When a fire engine from the Manorville Fire Department arrived on the scene, the BNL crew worked side-by-side with the Manorville crew to quickly stretch a hose to extinguish the flames rising from the cars that were on fire.
“This was a job well done by our fire-rescue group,” said Assistant Laboratory Director for Facilities & Operations Lanny Bates. “They provided an important service to our neighboring communities and emergency responders. I applaud their professionalism and heroic actions.”
“Our fire-rescue crew responded quickly and appropriately,” added Laboratory Protection Division Manager Michael Pena. “This event was highly unusual. I truly believe that the response of our extraordinary fire-rescue group helped save lives that day.”