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Vigilant responds to fire, power line

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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:12 pm | Updated: 4:23 pm, Thu Jul 26, 2012.

Robin Kluger may have saved her Village of Great Neck Estates home last week when, instead of calling 9-1-1 to inform firefighters that her Bayview Avenue residence had caught fire, she opted to cut out the middle man.

While responding to a downed power line near Bayview Avenue following a round of thunderstorms last Wednesday, Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company Capt. Micah Tucker said an unexpected visitor to the scene alerted first responders to the fire in Kluger’s 28 Bayview Avenue home.

“We had a homeowner run down the street letting us know that her house had a fire in the back room,” Tucker said, referring to Kluger. “We came down here, opened the line up, knocked the fire down quickly.”

Vigilant Fire Company Chief Laurence Jacobs said his department was called to the scene of the downed power line near the intersection of Bayview Avenue and Pine Drive at 5:10 p.m. last Wednesday. He said Kluger informed Vigilant firefighters about the fire in her residence at 7:22 p.m.

“The men of the Vigilant Fire Company did a fantastic job getting here quick and containing it to a one-room fire,” Tucker said.

It was the Vigilant firefighters’ training and Kluger’s quick thinking, which Jacobs said contributed to keeping the fire from getting out of control.

“They went right back to their training,” Jacobs said of his department’s firefighters. “Luckily, they were all prepared to do it and knew exactly what they needed to do and were able to respond immediately to the call.”

No injuries were reported with either of last week’s incidents, while the Kluger’s home sustained only minor damage, Jacobs said.

“Their show of force is impressive,” Robin Kluger said of the local firefighters, while standing in the front yard of the home she shares with her husband Alan after the fire was extinguished. “There were so many of them and all volunteers. (They were) very, very nice.”

More than 30 firefighters from the Vigilant, Manhasset-Lakeville and Great Neck Alert fire departments responded to the scene of the Bayview Avenue house fire, Jacobs said.

“It’s rare that we get people coming over to us and telling us that we have a problem,” Jacobs said. “People call 9-1-1 or go to (the fire house).”

The Village of Great Neck Estates Police Department also responded to the scene, blocking a portion of Bayview Avenue in the vicinity of the home.

Jacobs said the “cooperation” demonstrated between the Vigilant, Alert and Manhasset-Lakeville fire departments was critical to ensuring last week’s fire remained in control.

“We’re going to need to rely on each other for help,” Jacobs said.

Long Island Power Authority spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said crews from the power authority were dispatched to the scene of the fire at 8 p.m. last Wednesday.

Flagler said a “lightning strike” was responsible for the downed wire, which caused power outages for 811 customers in the area.

“The crew made the wire safe and was able to restore power to 733 customers at that time,” Flagler said. “Unfortunately, there was additional extensive damage and the remaining customers’ (power) remained out until 2:45 p.m. Thursday.”

But, the fire at the Kluger’s Bayview Avenue home was not started by the downed wire, Flagler said.

“It sounded from the reports that there were some sparks coming from the electrical outlets,” Jacobs said.

Attempts to reach the Nassau County Fire Marshall’s Office for comment on this story were unavailing.

The fire never grew to anything more than “average” or “small” in size, Tucker said.

“It’s hard to say the difference,” he said, “but it was heat and smoke and flames.

Jacobs said he was unable to decipher the cause of last week’s fire.

“I’m really proud of all the guys,” Tucker said. “The way they worked together, it really showed that quick teamwork can put this out and contain it to a small fire.”

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