Three fatalities in Washington Ave. house fire

Firefighters outside 148 Washington Avenue

Firefighters outside 148 Washington Avenue

Updated 2:48 pm May 7th

Two of the victims of the fire that swept through the home at 148 Washington Avenue in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 6th have been identified by Nassau County Police. They are Molly Madigan, 18, and her mother, Gail Madigan, 60. The third victim, a 62 year old man, had not yet been identified, pending autopsy, Nassau County Police said on Friday.

Molly Madigan, 18, was a senior at Garden City High School. She was a musician and was a member of the high school’s chamber choir, concert choir and vocal jazz ensemble and performed in All-State the past two consecutive years.

Gail Madigan served for many years as an officer in the Garden City PTA. She was also part of the team who put together the annual Senior Citizens luncheon at the High School.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 5:35 a.m., and according to the NCPD, approximately 50 firefighters and 11 pieces of fire apparatus responded.

Gail Madigan

Molly Madigan

Molly Madigan

A resident who lives near the home said after hearing alerts from her home security system, she looked outside and saw that her neighbor’s home was on fire. She called 911 but the dispatcher was already aware of the situation. The resident said she and her husband alerted other adjoining neighbors. She told the Garden City News that it took approximately 20 minutes for firefighters to arrive and begin fighting the fire.

However, at a meeting of the Garden City Board of Trustees on Thursday evening, May 6th, Fire Chief Devyn Moody denied that there was a delay in responding. Moody said that the Garden City Fire Department had responded to the fire in New Cassel on Wednesday night, but were relieved of duty around 2:30 a.m.

“We got the call for the fire at 5:38 a.m. this morning for a reported house fire in the vicinity of Wyatt Road and Washington Avenue. The first chief on the road was Assistant Chief Pearn. He was on the road in under two minutes. He arrived on scene in four minutes and gave a size-up. We had a heavy volume of fire showing on the first floor, second floor and attic. Once we arrived on scene the neighbors reported that there were people possibly trapped and we tried to make an aggressive interior search. But unfortunately with the amount of fire we weren’t able to accomplish the search. The first engine was on the road in under five minutes and was on the scene in under nine minutes and put water on the fire,” Chief Moody said.

Chief Moody said that Chief Pearn and Chief Taunton and two other fire fighters had tried to enter the building when they first arrived and sustained second degree burns.

The fire was the second major incident in Nassau County that night, with a five-alarm fire in New Cassel which was first reported at 8:49 p.m. That fire was fought throughout the night by firefighters from departments across Nassau County. According to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, all 71 fire departments in the county were activated between the two fires.

Garden City Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kusum Sinha released a statement of condolences and said that the district’s team of school counselors and psychologists are ready to assist students.

A Garden City Police officer was also treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital. Two other firefighters suffered injuries but were not hospitalized.

The Nassau County Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire.

burned out home

The home after the fire

169 responses to “Three fatalities in Washington Ave. house fire”

  1. “She told the Garden City News that it took approximately 20 minutes for firefighters to arrive and begin fighting the fire.”

    What a horrible tragedy, please follow up on this quote from your story GC News. We’re still waiting for the real response time GC News investigation from the Hilton Avenue fire.

    Rest In Peace neighbors.

    • I agree, especially after the Hilton Ave fire, which would have been a tragedy as well, but for the son being awake when he should have been asleep. There, numerous neighbors confirmed how long it took for the FD to arrive.

    • I watched the Village Board meeting on Zoom tonight and saw the Trustees briefed on the fire. It seems the 20 minute response time is either a malicious attempt to smear the fire department or, as another writer here suggests, it just seemed like it took that long to a neighbor.

      • Krissy P. says:

        It probably just seemed like longer to the neighbor. I’d hate to see the GCFD blamed/criticzed when it sounds like they risked their lives to save the family. It is a terrible tradgedy.

    • Get a Paid Professional Fire Department says:

      Please get a Professional Paid Garden City Fire Department back in place with a volunteer Fire Department as well. This is such an unbelievably tragic day. How horrible for this family and our community! Please don’t let these situations keep coming up. People want to live in Garden City because we have great schools, a wonderful police department and a public works department and we should get our Paid Garden City Fire Department back .

      • What an agenda driven, knee jerk reaction to a tragic event. You obviously aren’t aware that these residents aren’t the first fire fatalities in the Village. That’s right, with your paid firefighters in place, several residents perished in fires – including one in a house fire just two blocks from the firehouse. To imply that the people in the Washington Avenue fire died because we’re protected by volunteers does a disservice not only to those who volunteer, but to the community as a whole.

  2. It is possible, with the fire and adrenalin and panic, that 5 minutes seemed like 20 minutes.

    Either way, needs to be an investigation

  3. Should the word allegedly be used by the reporter? Or has the 20 minute time frame been verified?

  4. MarkA says:

    20 minutes. Think about that. 20 minutes.

    • unverified…..think about that, too

      • Pam Higgins says:

        Really, 20 minutes, Garden City? Unlikely.

        • Bob says:

          The west end engine was the first engine there…. it was every bit of 10 minutes.

          • Volunteers took my job says:

            Every bit of 10 minutes? When there were paid firefighters the nearest engine with 2 men was on its way as the phones were ringing, followed by the headquarters engine. The volunteers didn’t like that and now there are no more paid firefighters. Except the ones that the village paid or may still be paying to stay at home, arranged in a back room deal just to eliminate the paid contingent. That did happen.

  5. The house is in sight from where I live and I took videos and photos this morning with timestamps and meta data (knowing the trouble with the Hilton fire) that can confirm when water was first used on an engulfed portion of the house to begin extinguishing the blaze. At 5:52am (a few minutes after I was woken up) to 5:56am there was no water being used. At 5:57am, the smoke makes an extremely apparent change in color and a jet of water can be seen being used on the house. A Freedom of Information Act request should reveal when the first calls rolled into the dispatch about the fire. I know one of the neighbors called MUCH earlier than when I recorded the blaze.

  6. Sad for everyone involved says:

    This speculation helps this family how? Of course there are going to be investigations but the unnamed neighbor reporting 20 minutes and this paper reporting it is irresponsible at best. I imagine 5 minutes feels like 20 when you see fire. Have respect and decency and stop looking to point fingers. It was a tragedy of epic proportions – don’t make it worse by insinuating the firemen didn’t get there in time and that is the reason this happened. Let’s come together as a community and support each other.

    • I’d hardly call it an “insinuation” when it’s already been noted there is time-stamped proof that brings light to a larger issue that impacts this entire community, including yourself.

      It is important for us as a community to address a very clear problem with having an entirely volunteer-based fire department and prevent further tragic loss of life.This is not the first instance where an entire house was engulfed in flames due to a lack of timely response in Garden City, re: Hilton Ave less than a year ago, and that was just around the corner from the fire department, so much so that that owner ran to the physical fire department building to try and get them to respond quicker. The replacement of a salaried fire department with an entirely volunteer-based one has coincided with now multiple full house fires, and now includes the untimely, tragic death of a student and her parents.

      Would you like them to respond in twenty minutes to a fire at your house? No.

      It is very much the time to address this. It was time to address this when Hilton Avenue happened. Maybe this family would have been spared today if something had been done sooner and changes had already been made. We need both paid and volunteer working in tandem. The events of the last year prove that.

      You don’t have the right to tell another person how to react to a tragedy in our town – some want to take action, some mourn quietly. Neither is right or wrong. To call another person out for how they chose to handle today is incomprehensible on a human level – that person stood by helplessly watching her neighbors’ lives crumble before her, and you have the audacity to shame her?

      Bless your heart.

      • Sad for everyone involved says:

        To “Change is Needed” – First of all, I never said insinuation – I said speculation. I wasn’t shaming anyone but this paper. To report “a neighbor said” is unverified and it is irresponsible to report it. I also said I am sure 5 minutes seems like 20 when you see fire. I said we as a community should come together and support each other but from your post, you clearly feel differently. In my opinion, tonight is not the night to debate a paid versus volunteer fire department. Tonight is a night to hug your loved ones a little tighter, pray for the victims and their families and be thankful for all the first responders who put themselves in harms way for their neighbors. Bless your heart as well.

        • Don’t shame a paper for reporting the news.

          That does not help.

          • Another resident says:

            Unverified – a good newspaper is more responsible than that. That doesn’t help.

        • You said “don’t make it worse by INSINUATING the firemen didn’t get there in time and that is the reason this happened.”

        • Here’s something that might change your opinion. Rockville Center fire and rescue was actually the first to respond at the scene, not Garden City. Read that again….Rockville Center arrived first.

          Perhaps it’s time to reassess our volunteer fire model. How many people need to lose their homes or worse, their lives? I personally would rather pay more taxes to have a professional staff of full-time fire responders than to lose precious lives in our community.

          One house lost due to poor response time is too much. But losing lives is unforgivable. Garden City needs immediate change. The volunteer model doesn’t work. It was proven last year at horrific fire on Hilton. Instead of making changes, we squashed the homeowners account of the fire and received a glossy letter from the GCFD reassuring the community of the quality of a volunteer fire department. Afterwards, we spent the rest of the year squabbling over new fire house plans at Edgemere. It’s time to start making prudent expenditures that safeguard our families and our children.

          I’m hopeful that this heinous tragedy can spearhead change and make an positive impact for the safety of all homeowners in the village.

          • While acknowledging “Time for a Change”‘s good points, you make no mention that almost all of Long Island is volunteer fire departments. So why can’t GC’s volunteers do it as well?

            My thesis, is that the volunteers never had to learn the discipline and skill sets the other Firefighters on Long Island learned, because the first line of defense was the paid firefighters.

            It is not that our Volunteers are weaker than other Volunteers on long island, but in the haste that the last BOT made in getting rid of the paid firefighters in a back room deal, there was never any thought given to providing a transition where the volleys were back up to the paid firefighters, to an all volunteer fire fighting force, overnight.

            It is not our Volleys, but the last BOT stupidity in not understanding the shift that our Volunteers would have to undergo in a short period of time.

            Put the blame where it belongs. On the last BOT.

          • Hates Fake News says:

            I suppose you must have been in front of the house as the first unit arrived when you make this statement as fact: “Here’s something that might change your opinion. Rockville Center fire and rescue was actually the first to respond at the scene, not Garden City. Read that again….Rockville Center arrived first.”

            If you were not, then stop spreading inaccurate, malicious and agenda driven dribble to people in this community who are dealing with neighbors perishing.

            Also, where was all your righteous indignation over the years when, with paid firefighters, residents perished in a fire – including one just two blocks from the firehouse?

            So, unless you know what time the fire started – not discovered – and how long it was burning before the passer by noticed it, you really aren’t in a position to make ‘factual’ statements about anything.

            By the way, do you know that the person who discovered the fire said, in a TV News interview, he tried to gain entry but there was too much smoke, heat and fire to go into the house? Do you also know he said he did that before he called 911?

          • The RVC engine was the first engine to arrive at the scene. This was corroborated by multiple volunteers from multiple towns physically there. We all know fire chiefs in SUV’s do not have hoses and water. But the optics sure look good. There could be a million volunteers on the scene but without engines and water it means nothing. The real question is what time was the initial call and when was a GC engine present and putting water put on the house?

            The time spent by volunteers driving to the firehouse and waiting on someone capable of driving a rig are the critical minutes that a professional career staff could be actively in transit to a fire with a tank of water on it. By eliminating the 5-6 paid professional firefighters our village employed we have lost the ability to respond quickly. Instead, we have a RVC engine showing up first to a fire in GC. That’s a pretty terrifying thought. The model is broken.

          • Hate Fake News says:

            I challenged your “fact” by suggesting that if you weren’t there from the beginning, you’d have no way of knowing.

            Stupidly, you defend your “fact” by make this even dumber statement: “The RVC engine was the first engine to arrive at the scene. This was corroborated by multiple volunteers from multiple towns physically there.”

            Okay, Einstein, if RVC’s first-on-the-scene claim was true, then how could it be corroborated by “multiple volunteers from multiple towns”, unless they were there first?

            Of course, if they weren’t, then their statements are just as dumb as yours.

          • Isles Fan Rico says:

            GCFD was out fighting a fire at a Westbury transfer station. RCFD was probably covering for GCFD hence they were there first (if true). There was an article on Friday that stated an asst chief was on scene 2 mins after the call came in and water was being put on the fire 9 mins after the call came in. The response times will come out, along with other pertinent information when the investigation makes some headway. Arm chair quarterbacking/speculation gets you no where in regards to what really happened. This will be investigated by the NC Fire Marshalls office. Don’t think they will risk their careers to protect some vollie fire dept.

            But do be clear, make sure you have working smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in every room of your home. They do save lives.

          • False statement. Rockville Centre was not first on scene. There was garden city truck on scene with water in hoses fairly quick. The Rockville Centre truck you saw there came to assist as it was on its way home from the Westbury fire.

    • B.S. Whether the Volleys got there in time or not, the town needs to investigate to see if our Volleys and their Leadership are up to snuff.. To stick our heads in the sand under the false pretense “that we are not supporting the volleys” is utter silliness.

      Like the military, after every engagement, there should be an “after action” analysis.

      The fact that there was a whitewash after the Hilton fire is the real disgrace.

      Maybe by analyzing this event properly, the lost lives from today can have some additional meaning in saving similar familes in the future.

    • Bernard Chambers says:

      It helps the NEXT family. If there is a problem with Garden City fire department capabilities it should be made known and corrected.

    • The GC News was not irresponsible in reporting the statement of a witness. The paper clearly stated that a witness made the statement. The paper did not report the 20 minutes as a fact. The media interviews and reports statements of witnesses all the time. This is no different.

  7. Fire Fighter and GCPD supporter! says:

    How disgusting for people to disparage our wonderful volunteer Fire Fighters!! They risk their lives every time there is a fire in this village. I can only imagine how upset they must be at the outcome of this fire. What they need is our support not our questions. I for one am grateful for them as well as for our GCPD! Take a step back during this tragic time in our village and think about your fellow residents and volunteers for once instead of making negative comments!

    • Kelly Bedford says:

      I don’t think anyone is ungrateful for the volunteer firefighters (their service is greatly appreciated), the concern is with response time and having paid staff 24/7 at the fire house and ready to go immediately when a call comes in.

    • Concerned says:

      There is only ONE Chief’s Staff in all of Long Island who has ever asked for less resources. And it resides in the most affluent community in Nassau County.

      You can argue all day long whether or not it would’ve helped yesterday. But 2 is always better than 1 no matter what your opinion is. And the Volunteer Department should be held accountable for marketing and campaigning for the firing of paid fireman that every other Town on Long Island.

      I pray for the victims and their family. And hope that some of our town can wake up and realize the concerns that were raised during each wave of firings was not fear mongering, yet inevitability.

    • Agree. What is wrong with all of you? People are dead. Have some compassion. My God let them Rest In Peace. Who knows what would have occurred in 5 minutes or 20. STOP AND PRAY for those who perished and those left behind. Horrible tragedy. Life is short. You don’t know when your time is up. STOP

    • Francis Jones says:

      Your volunteers are anything but wonderful. Your volunteers are hobbyists that fought to get rid of paid fire protection in your village. Do some research and you’ll feel different I assure you.

  8. I read it as: she isn’t knocking their efforts – she’s pointing out we need to revisit the emergency response system in our community.

    This is an emotional time, but nobody is blaming the volunteers for their efforts. It was simply a better system when they worked together with career firemen, and we don’t have that anymore. This is about taking a good hard look at our community’s emergency response system, not the individual volunteers. I know I certainly appreciate everything they do. I’m sure everyone else does, too.

  9. Jack Pritchard says:

    Maybe there should have been a serious debate before ending the paid firefighters, and their staffing of the firestations at night, before the BOT ended the paid firefighters with no public debate.

    The old BOT said there would be no diminuation of fire safety. I’m starting to question that guarantee.

  10. JP says:

    Can we just have respect? This is my husbands family he lost today. Our family does not need to be reading some of these comments. Everything is still under proper investigation.

    • Suzanne Eigl says:

      Dear JP,
      I want to express my deepest condolences for the loss of your family members in such a tragic way. I only knew Gail from her work in the PTA and around town and know of her and her husband’s children because of our children . Please let myself or other members of the community know what we can do to help all of you at such a horrific time. Having lost my only sister in an unexpected accident and my Dad when I was young I know some of the pain you are experiencing. Prayers for all of you, especially the Madigan’s other children

    • Amen. I’m so sorry and I’m praying for you and those left behind. My heart is breaking. 💔

  11. Bill C says:

    Can we compare how many large fires in garden city there where since 2013 when the cuts to the paid contingent started? Seems like there have been more intense fires the last few years than there were for 10 years combined

    • Is it possible, that this outbreak of large fires, is because with the Paid Firemen, they got to the fire quicker, and what today is a large fire that burns the house to the ground today, when we had paid firemen, they would have been putting out the fire before the whole house was engulfed?

      This just can’t be coincidence: Avalon burned to the ground, Old Country Rd house engulfed, Olcott house destroyed, and now the most upsetting and tragic, 148 Washington.

  12. Andrew says:

    Bring back the paid firefighters. Enough said!

    • Frank Leto says:

      As a community it is best to withhold judgement until all the facts are available. This tragedy will be throughly investigated and recommendation for change will be made if needed. As residents of Garden City we should use our collective energy to support the living family members, memorialize our three neighbors and thank the individual first responders that risked their lives.

  13. Fire Guy says:

    It goes without saying that any lost of life and property is tragic and my heart goes out to this family.

    As an outsider (not GCFD but GC resident, and now too old to enter burning buildings) looking in, there were many issues at stake, the morning of this house fire, and they all need to be investigated. Most importantly consider the fact that fire resources were commited to another large fire in Westbury and when resources are spread thin, bad things can happen.

    The NC Fire Marshall’s office should certainly be involved to investigate and provide reports on response time, manpower, and other factors, not just GCFD. And it should be transparent for all to see.

    Throughout, the country, the state and locally, there are fewer men and women volunteering as firefighters, You see the signs posted and advertisments in newspapers seeking volunteer firefighters.

    I do not believe the elimation of the paid firefighters was a good choice. It was done by a previous BOT without any community input and we were told that millions in tax dollars would be saved. I personally do not believe there was much tax savings by any property owner. And you absolutely cannot put a price on someone’s life.

    Unfortunately, tradition dies hard in the fire service. Just look had long it took to get a first responder medical team in GC. Many FD’s in Nassau have had ambulances and paramedics in place long before GC considered using NYU-Langone.

    It is time to reconsider a paid fire department again. At the very least, the fire trucks will be on scene more quickly even though the paid guys generally do not the building, but they are there to man the trucks and assist with other duties.

    Say a prayer for those lost and pray it doesn’t ever happen again.

    • Back Room Deal says:

      A resident discussion of the issues before Daughney, Bolebruch and Delaney fired the paid firefighters in a back room deal would have been nice

    • D Kensington says:

      The story reports the first call at 5:35 and a resident has video evidence of the first water on the fire at 5:57. 22 minutes. Others are reporting a RVCFD engine redirected from the Jamaica Ash fire was first on the scene. There needs to be a bunch of column inches next week in the GC News investigating this fire, not the puff piece after the Hilton Ave conflagration. The GCFD needs to be forthcoming to the BOT and residents with their staffing problems and response times as not all vollies are qualified interior firefighters and not all can operate the apparatus. There seems to be mutual aid on many alarms indicating a lack of manpower. A problem that exists island-wide.

      Before the paid members were getting dismantled there was enough manpower available 24/7 to get an engine to the scene in a few minutes and a hose line stretched at least to the residence door and possibly begin an interior attack. As this was occurring the volunteers would arrive at the scene in personal vehicles and in follow-on apparatus to perform additional fireground ops. The problem was the union saw the vollies as scabs and the vollies wanted more control over the department. This, coupled with the low call volumes and constant friction allowed the BOT to slowly dismantle the combination department in the name of cost-savings.

      It’s time to revisit the combination department and properly manage it to avoid the union sprawl that continued to push the volunteers aside in the name of more jobs for the union. Until then and thereafter make sure your smoke detectors are numerous and operational, have fire extinguishers around the house, a 2.5 gallon water extinguisher can give enough time to exit the dwelling, and consider centrally monitored alarms which many GC residences already have.

  14. Concerned Garden City neighbor says:

    ARAs of the moment, I for one have read multiple accounts of this tragedy. All differ in their details — response time, who responded first, how the fire was first reported. The only common fact is that Garden City lost three of its residents — good people who were respected and loved by neighbors and schoolmates. Now is a time to mourn, not assess blame. We know nothing of how the fire started and very little about the time line. We also know there was a major fire in Westbury that raged through much of the day and used fire fighting resources in unprecedented ways. We do need an investigation but until that is undertaken and completed, it is really too early to tell whether a paid fire department (which was VERY small in size) should be restored, whether the “old” BOT bears responsibility for a precipitous action in converting to all volunteers, and other issues.

    • Enough please says:

      Did anyone read the comment from a family member asking for these comments to stop? Let’s respect the family’s wishes and take up the conversation when the investigation is completed. They are suffering and they have asked for one thing – stop the comments. Let’s please honor their wishes

  15. Spaulding Jennings says:

    A chiefs car on the scene is not a fire engine with a tank of water on it. The BOT may have gotten rid of the career men but the volunteers motivated them and assured us that they could do the job. The system may have not been the best but the answer was to work on it and make a system that would work, not do away with it over egos. Regardless of the volume of fire (relative term based on individual perception and experience) encountered by a volunteer chief; having engines with water arrive in minutes with career men, MAKES A DIFFERENCE. There’s really no words to describe this horrible tragedy and the callousness of those who pushed for this. Shame on them. Pray for this family and pray that they bring back professional, career; and properly staffed fire protection to the village.

  16. Every minute a fire burns it doubles in size. Time is of the essence. I am a former firefighter. Is it true Mineola called 2 minutes after GCFD for a ladder to the scene beat the GCFD units on the scene? The fire service is not all fun and games. In my opinion this situation was a perfect storm. It always comes down to manpower. If there are not enough qualified drivers pump operators firefighters there will be a delay. I will not bash the firefighters. They volunteered and showed up. I will bash village politics and volunteer fire Dept politics. Training is needed and so are qualified individuals. The town is hoodwinked when they see shiny trucks firefighters in class A dress blues and think the town is covered and safe. Investigate the situation. Hogwash the call…info is avail to the public. See what the probs are and rectify.

  17. Concerned says:

    There is only ONE Chief’s Staff in all of Long Island who has ever asked for less resources. And it resides in the most affluent community in Nassau County.

    You can argue all day long whether or not it would’ve helped yesterday. But 2 is always better than 1 no matter what your opinion is. And the Volunteer Department should be held accountable for marketing and campaigning for the firing of paid fireman that every other Town on Long Island would beg and plead for.

    I pray for the victims and their family. And hope that some of our town can wake up and realize the concerns that were raised during each wave of firings was not fear mongering, yet inevitability.

  18. Held accountable how? Monetarily individually? What is your suggestion? Please….dont throw stones better yet why dont yo yourself volunteer and become a firefighter?

  19. The men and women of our fire department leave their families and put their lives on the line EVERY DAY as all of you live, work and sleep at night. You have NO IDEA how this fire started. You have NO IDEA about when it actually started and why. You have absolutely NO IDEA of the abuse, arbitrations and law suits that the paid firemen caused our community while they were employed. You have NO IDEA about how the volunteers were attacked by the PFF union brothers and sisters at their regular jobs in support of the PFF. At a time when we have just lost three beautiful people and fellow residents in our community, lets get the facts first before you look at the PFF as the saviors and thru Rose Colored Glasses.

    • Um… just attacked those big bad professional firefighters. Practice what you preach. You sound like an entitled spoiled little brat. Bottom line….the paid guys had nothing to do with THIS fire…

    • Proud UFA says:

      Attacked at their regular jobs by unions? A union firefighter volunteering in Garden City or Long Beach, where union firefighters were employed – is a scab. That’s labor. I’m sure the DPW worker who’s a volunteer FF would love it if I started picking up trash along the road and patching potholes with my own equipment and my own money. Maybe the village would do away with the DPW and give you more time to volunteer. It’s labor, accept it. If you you are a NYC Firefighter and want to volunteer but live in Garden City, go join Mineola. Years back Garden City was smart enough to create a paid force. As with all careers people want protection and unions are formed, that’s called labor. If you can’t understand that then we don’t expect you to understand any of this. The volunteer that leaves his house and family to run to a fire still has a choice. The paid professional when on duty doesn’t have that choice. You cannot mix a social club where guys escape from their families and drink, with the work place. That is why the paid professionals needed union protection and representation.

  20. Did you miss the the part in the article that said all depts in Nassau were at the Westbury fire? Maybe RVC was here first because they were the last truck in at Westbury and were able to get out faster. Also unsaid, don’t you think the paid FF would have been in Westbury as well?

    This is tragic and questions should be asked but lets not get ahead of ourselves and throw money at the problem before analyzing it.

  21. Sleepover Volleys? Direct to scene? says:

    Another data point worth investigating – if so many large or destructive fires happen at night or while residents are sleeping – why not have rotating shifts sleeping over at a firehouse?
    If it shaves 3+ minutes off response time that could be the difference between life or devastation.

    Doesn’t have to be all firehouses, just have two volunteers per rotation who are trained as chauffer/driver to get hoses on scene.
    We have amazing volunteers who love their volley jobs and i bet you’d have plenty who would sign up for this assignment. WFH allows many of them new flexibility in hours.
    Pay them a stipend if necessary, and feed them of course.

    Also, why are Volleys prohibited from going direct to scene? It seems backwards to have the engine sit there waiting for volleys to drive past the fire just to get to the firehouse, then ride on the engine back to the scene. Other towns in other places allow volleys to go direct. Volley parking or congestion on scene is not a valid excuse, they can park across the street or 1-2 houses away to allow room for arriving fire trucks.

    Every minute counts in a house fire.

    I heard stories directly from NYFD firemen that certain houses in Bx and Bklyn would sleep in their bulky uniforms so they could get out the door 30 seconds faster and beat the other firehouses to be First On Scene.

    This can be fixed. Let’s focus on understanding facts, agreeing on solutions, and learning not blaming.

    Go GC!

    • Kool so what shift and what night will you be sleeping at the station. Talk is cheap back it up with action sign up and join the FD

    • As an aggressive supporter of going all volunteer, mainly because of the Villages leadership’s inability to manage the integration of the two units, paid and volunteers, I was shocked to learn that the volunteers didn’t have a schedule where at least one station was manned at night on a rotation.

      If the BOT members had ever let the village know, I would never had supported an all-volunteer force. We were lied to by the BOT when they said “we will be just as safe”. They lied.

      But if after three large fires, and deaths, this manning of fire houses is being discussed in the GCNews, and not at t he highest levels of the firehouse, than the firefighting leadership needs to resign. Today.

  22. Retired LBFD says:

    In 2021 Long Island, if a volunteer fire chief had some form of guaranteed staffing, and then augmented that staffing with highly motivated volunteers, why would he ever get rid of that? Forget the fact that the volunteers put working men out of a job and almost destroyed those families; forget about them for a moment and ask why would a Chief cut back on his resources? And then assure the village that he can handle the task? And use a multiple alarm fire in a nearby town as an excuse? Response time is critical in changing outcomes and the village had a system that ensured a pumper would be on scene in minutes. Not 9 minutes. Not after the volunteer heard his beeper go off while working in his yard, not after the volunteer got to his car while shopping. There was a system and the chiefs told the village they didn’t need it anymore. Now look at this tragedy. What would be the motivation to cut back on your resources? A volunteer joins the local FD and gets involved but few remain because of all of the requirements. The requirements combined with the personal and household responsibilities of homeownership; something has to give – and it is usually the level of dedication to the FD. So in this instance the village had 5-6 paid men on 24 hours a day. It just made sense. What doesn’t make sense was that they said they didn’t need it and the village voted to do away with it. In fact some people wanted to do away with it so bad that there were come “career” men sitting at home still collecting a pay check, out of an agreement they worked out. Imagine if even one of them was still required to be at work right now he and could have brought that pumper, and then him and that Chief who arrived first, they could have done something. But no. Ask why were guys paid to stay at home and what was the rush to disband this combination system.

    Do the citizens know that some of the volunteers wanted the paid staff eliminated so badly that some were even paid to stay home and not come to work?

  23. Former GC Volunteer says:

    People keep remarking how Garden City volunteers were at the fire in Westbury. The paid members that used to be in the GCFD didn’t leave the village. They were kept in the village to cover the village. On an occasion they may send one of the paid members to drive the truck when the volunteers would leave town to assist another department but there was always the ability to get an engine with paid members on scene – in minutes. The audacity of some of the volunteers and the excuses they’re coming up with is sickening. Additionally it is almost criminal that some volunteers will argue that the motivation level and degree to which they love being a firefighter versus the paid members is likewise criminal. The pager goes off and the volunteer can reset it and go back to sleep. The volunteer doesn’t have to turn out for the gas leaks and the wires down. Send the paid men. Paid members didn’t have that opportunity because it was their job and they were there for that first line of defense and protection. There is and was so much behind the scenes sneaky nonsense and egotistical issues that go on in that poor man’s country club that are sickening. I hope the chiefs and powerful volunteers who were behind the move to eliminate the paid members, are held accountable for this.

    • To be factual, since at least one of has to be, five volunteers responded on a truck to Westbury’s call for help at their massive fire.

      These volunteers were released from that scene and home hours before the alarm was received for Washington Avenue.

  24. Warrior says:

    As a former member of GCFD I hate to see my old dept dragged through the mud but Yes there were problems at this call that need to be addressed and quickly. Staffing, Out of town members who do not live in GC, training, and most of all not qualified drivers but qualified pump operators. Look…the system wasnt broken there was no need to go from combination Dept to full volunteer.

  25. AG says:

    Let the investigation work its way out…. The discussions here are about responding and reminds us all that response is on all of us that everyone should ensure that they have the appropriate smoke detectors/extinguishers/alarms – exit plans in place and are operational.

  26. At 9:58pm on Thursday May 6th the family asked for these comments to stop, BUT the keyboard cowboys, especially the ones who do not live in the village have keep at it!
    Show some respect for the family and STOP!!
    This does not help the family, friends and neighbors of our community

  27. William Lucano says:

    All someone has to do to corroborate this neighbor’s account is to is check when the initial alert from their security system began, what time her subsequent phone call to 911 was, and a time-stamped video of the scene as to when firefighters in emergency vehicles arrived.

  28. Anderson says:

    I think it was the family of the volunteers who really asked the bashing to stop, amazing how they are trying to prevent the truth from being exposed. Good thing most of the GC fire chiefs still live in their parents basements. At least when they get personally sued they won’t loose much.

    • Please just stop says:

      Honestly – what an awful person you must be. Have some respect for this family. I hope you aren’t a resident because I would hate to think someone like you lives among us in this wonderful community. While the residents are praying for this family, you take the opportunity to be sarcastic. This is a tragedy – have some decency.

  29. As a long time resident of this Village, I have been a fan of the Garden City News and the job they do to present the facts as they know them, then provide differing opinions the opportunity to voice those opinions in the paper.

    However, on the electronic side, after reading much of what has been written by people with the ‘nerve’ to state their opinion, but not the ‘guts’ to attribute them to their real names, I think it is time that the Garden City News consider requiring legitimate, verifiable email addresses and the names of the comment authors. Real names are required for the print edition, so why not the electronic edition as well?

    It’s time to “Man Up!” and identify yourself with your opinions.

    Maybe that will eliminate most of the inaccurate, inflammatory and hateful responses that are posted under the cowardice of anonymity.

    • William Faust III says:

      Mr Nedelka I guess it’s easier to bash the people writing opinions than state the facts….there are problems and they need to be addressed. Over 20 minutes to get water, really?. Not looking for people to fry but for reasons to FIX THE PROBLEM. Training, manpower and qualified firefighters PERIOD. Is this now facebook where free speech about certain topics is banned.

      • Bill,

        Come on, now. Do you really want the good people of Garden City to think because I ask writers to identify themselves I am bashing people who write them instead of stating facts? That’s the furthest thing from the truth and intention of what I posted.

        However, if you want to state facts, what are your documented sources to verify your ‘fact’ that it took “over 20 minutes to get water”.

        I’m not looking for people to fry, either – no one should, but asking if this is now Facebook where free speech about certain topics is banned is juvenile. I never suggested, implied or advocated for your the intent of your question, but I am fully in favor of free speech about all topics. I think people should take responsibility for their comments. Identifying yourself truthfully can only work to promote healthy discussion, debate and resolution to any topic.

    • Christine Mullaney says:

      Totally agree, Larry. Hiding behind various pen names, residents (presumed, how many, who knows) post all sorts of inflammatory comments about issues and other residents. I’ve subscribed to the GC News for many years, and will continue to do so, but the paper needs to require that electronic comments are signed with real names. Other papers, including some award-winning local press, do not allow anonymous posts and, as a result, the resident commentary is informed and helpful and often leads to worthwhile debate. People still disagree but readers are spared the many moronic, inaccurate, inflammatory posts that dominate this website.

  30. Anonymity says:

    Unfortunately in today’s society anyone who doesn’t agree with a narrative that is being pushed by the institution is in the cross hairs to be harassed, threaten, outcast, etc. Anonymity is the only way to get the facts out without the retaliation that goes with it.

  31. Look how easy it it to point fingers. Most of the comments that have been posted indicate that we are no longer a united community and I am truly ashamed to call some of you my neighbors.

    First and foremost, what happened yesterday was a tragedy, one that many of us will not be able to shake off for a very long time. We have watched the fire progress and we have watched the firefighters tirelessly try to put it down. I can’t even begin to imagine what the firemen saw when they went into that house, but I imagine the worst. My heart breaks for the family and their relatives but it also breaks for all the brave men that went into that house yesterday.

    This newspaper has proven over and over again to word information in a way that comes off as biased against the GCFD. At this point, it does not matter what the FD say or how accurately they report times of arrival because our neighbors will say whatever it takes to dispute the information.

    Rather than offering false or unverified statements (read: spreading rumors), let’s focus on consoling the family of those that lost their lives yesterday. Once a proper investigation is completed, then we can have a discussion about everything else.

    Show some compassion people…. some of you come off as raging animals with zero empathy for what happened. It’s truly a shame.

  32. PAUL G PUCA says:

    I grew up in city and although I didn’t know this family I ‘m offing my deepest sympathies and heart felt condolences to the Mulligan family May god bless you and watch over the loved ones who have been lost.

  33. Kim Tobin says:

    God Bless the Madigan family, the GC Police who were first on the scene , and the volunteer firefighters who risked their lives to save others. I hope we learn from our mistakes, and I pray that this never happens again.

  34. Pull the Tapes says:


    • Take a moment to mourn for the lives that were lost and try to unite our community rather than cause further division. This is a perfect example of “raging animals” described in the previous comments.

  35. In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

    I urge our community members to post positive comments below, share good memories you had with the Madigan family. Let’s flood this page with positiveness and not hatred towards our fellow villagers. In a time like this, let’s look for a connection with others who might have known the family, comments that mean to shame the response teams who risked their lives are not necessary.

  36. Fed up with the politics says:

    If the volunteers are as professional as the paid force that they disbanded, then why did the volunteer chief not put his fire clothing on as people were imploring him to do something for the people that were still trapped? Don’t be swayed by the rhetoric that’s controlled and put out by the volunteers. What about the water problems? There was a system that got a fire engine with water on scene in 3 minutes. They got rid of that. Now it took 9 minutes and then even longer for water to get on the fire. How much did the fire grow in that time? Someone, more than someone has some explaining to do.

    • …. and there will be time to discuss this once an investigation is completed. You have lost three beloved members of the community. Is this the best comment you can post to honor them?

      • Malachi Johnson, East End Resident says:

        I agree that this is not the time for finger pointing. However I’ll be damned if I will sit back and allow the people responsible for getting rid of the professional firefighters to get away with this. Each village trustee and each sitting volunteer chief, that pushed for this, they’re names and information will be shared and they will have to tell this village and that family why they got rid of a system that ensured fast water on a fire in this village. The bickering over why the volunteers who use the firehouse as a social hall; don’t like the professionals is null. We needed professional protection then and we clearly need it now. The bigger tragedy (then these senseless deaths) is not holding people accountable.

        • THAN…. it is THAN, not then….. perhaps what we need first is a grammar lesson.

          • Domenica Buckley says:

            3 people are dead. 3 children are burying their parents and their young sister. The community is devastated by the loss and tragic circumstances and is questioning if this could potentially have been prevented and what can be done moving forward to improve systems. Probably not the time for a grammar lesson.

  37. This paper is a useless rag.

  38. GC says:

    What an absolute tragedy. Let’s all focus on sending our thoughts and prayers to this family. God bless.

  39. Kate P. says:

    The mayor(s), the board and all the volley chiefs involved should take a real hard look at the decision that they made.
    July 26, 2018 Mayor Brian Daughney said the village should follow every other community on Long Island with volunteer firefighters. He said no other community that also has large populations, tall buildings and commercial districts, suffers from inadequate public safety and fire protection.
    “We have no problem in our village delivering the same service as other communities that don’t have paid contingents and they’re not burning down,” Daughney said.
    The estimated fire loss and fatally count for the past 9 months show you are not like every other community. You put politics and money over safety. This devastating situation may have had a very different outcome had there been firefighters on duty in HQ’s just 0.8 miles away. The residents of Garden City deserve better.
    Lies lies and more lies.

    • Still fed up says:

      Why not do away with the cops while we are at it? Replace them with volunteers? Why don’t we hear that argument? We won’t trust a volunteer to tackle a coked up stick broker who’s slamming his wife’s head against the kitchen cabinet at 1AM, but we trusted fire protection to a bunch of hobbyists. Why?

      • Former Hobbyist says:

        Dear Mr Still fed up….are you serious? Did you know that 85% of all Firefighters in the USA are what you call hobbyists? I bet you had no idea.

    • Daughney and Bolebruch did more damage to this Village than Covid.

    • Just watched the full BOT meeting.

      How did the POA continue to renominate Daughney and Bolebruch after this type of rude, arrogant behavior?

    • Against "Guilty Before Proven Innocent" says:

      Kate, this family wasn’t the first to have someone perish in a fire. Where were your protestations, along with others, against anyone when those prior fatalities occurred with paid firefighters, especially one just 2 blocks from the firehouse?

      Paid firefighters didn’t prevent those fatalities, and it is grossly unfair to make blanket statements implying they could have prevented these.

      This was a tragic situation, but until the cause of the fire, when the fire began, and how long it burned before being discovered are determined, everything is just mindless or hateful speculation

  40. Al Dunlap says:

    If I were a thinking man. I am .
    I would suggest that the past mayor Daughney and ex chief Styrsko lawyer up .
    They might want to advise their underlinings to do the same .
    Dismissing the career portion of the villages fire protection without even a risk analysis being done is gross negligence.
    Criminality ? I think so .
    To Daughney . Your Wall Street legal shenanigans will not help you in this problem . Smirk all you want but you know it’s true .
    Testifying under oath is still a powerful comeuppance .
    My heartfelt condolences to the Madigan family .

    Save all your emails and correspondences .

    • The whole group of them should should pray for gods forgivenness.

      And those left on the BOT should resign immediately.

      They didnt even consider whether an all volunteer force that was backstopped by the Paid Firefighters could handle the transition. Was there even a transition?

      They are all culpable.

    • It Figures says:

      It figures that with statements like yours, you would request everyone hold their comments and emails.

  41. You have no idea what you are talking about. The PFF brought the end on by themselves. They were never willing to work with the volunteers. Just look at the 26 arbitrations. The last one was for minimum manning which would have tripled the number of PFF. Like you and your comments it is a union mentality that lost so many men their jobs. Not the BOT. Years before when six PFF were let go, the PFF packed the board room years ago with supporters. During the meeting there was a fire call. The PFF prevented the volunteers from leaving the building to get to the fire. The police had to be called in to get the volunteers out of the building to be able to get to the fire call. Did they care about public safety then? Not at all. These non GC PFF only wanted to show the volunteers or as you have called them before scabs who was in charge. This was not the BOT that caused this department to have to become all volunteer, it was the behavior of the PFF and their leadership. Try to spin this however you want but this is what happened

    • Take a look in the mirror says:

      Try and justify it anyway you want.

      The volunteers and the former BOT know the truth of why the got rid of the paid portion of the FD.

      Hopefully they can still look at themselves in the mirror and not feel guilty for the decision that they made.

      They did not take the warnings seriously and now must live with the consequences of their actions.

      Heart goes out to the family for their tragic loss.

      • It doesn’t matter who would’ve responded to the call, those people could’ve been dead by the time the call was made. This page is full of speculation, bias, and misinformation. Please get facts from reliable sources before you start pointing fingers. Unless you were in the house at the time when the fire started, you don’t know what happened. A proper investigation will show and then you can carry on with your almighty speculations on what’s better for this village.

        I would seriously hope that none of the volunteers think this tragedy was their fault or that there was anything they could’ve done to prevent it. It was a horrible accident that could’ve been prevented if maybe it occurred later on in the day when most neighbors were up, they had proper smoke detectors, etc.

        • Shocked says:

          Upsetting, I’m afraid the ship has sailed on the sentiment, “I would seriously hope that none of the volunteers think this tragedy was their fault”

          Yesterday, l saw a volunteer firefighter in this village called a s#@tbag outside Starbucks by a resident, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be in the truck when the alarm comes in, even if it’s that jerk’s house.

          As long as people, with absolutely NO FACTS post hateful sentiments towards volunteer firefighters about this tragedy, you can’t expect Chuck discussion.

    • Peter Schmidt says:

      Keep watching this. Watch and see how experts explained data and statistics and how the BOT’s still voted to end professional fire protection in the village. The almighty was practically explained to the last detail. Pride, ego and the dollar was placed ahead of public safety.

      Now people need to be held accountable.

      Stop saying how professional firefighters didn’t agree on terms with the village. They have a union and it’s called a negotiation.

      Professionals don’t arrive and not put on their protective gear, telling civilians that they have to run command while people are trapped.

      Get the 911 tapes.

      Not from the skewed volunteer interpretation but the black and white interpretation; get the data on how the professionals responded before the volunteers began chipping away at their staffing and the career force.

      Do you know that each firehouse had the ability to listen in on the emergency call with Fire Communications?

      Upon hearing the address the professionals were out the door and on the way.

      Did ego energized volunteers not like that they (professionals) got the jump on the call?

      Professionals didn’t leave the village – always making sure we had staffing back here in case of a fire in the village.

      The mayor, the board and all three fire chiefs at the time of the dissolving of the professionals…how do you look yourself in the mirror? How can you even drive by the house where this fire occurred? Shame on you. You had a system and instead of amending it and working through the issues you did away with it. You’re on the hook for this.

      If it wasn’t about saving money then why did you pay professional firemen to stay home and not come to work? Why didn’t you staff the firehouses?

      No one wants hear the truth. Deep down any one of the volunteers that was raised with any kind of morals knows what a bad thing they did. The village and more importantly this family is owed an explanation.

      Across Long Island fire departments are looking at ways to ensure response. Dispatchers, janitorial staff, mechanics and EMT’s are being tasked with getting fire apparatus to the scene. A community in Suffolk actually started a paid contingent. You had one and you got rid of it so people could expand their hobby.

  42. So Mad ! says:

    I have read enough and its time for change .

    The BOT needs to put on their Big Boy pants and make it happen NOW – because in the past to many mistakes were made over money for all the wrong reasons. The bottom line starting today is to realize what GC has in place is broken especially for the needs of all the residents in 2021.

    The amount of delay in getting to a fire with a volunteer FD is NOW unacceptable especailly with all these older homes that are filled with electronic and medical equipment that all have those highly explosive lithium batteries but not limited to just batteries .

    So if funds are short then stop spending money on foolish and wasteful projects in town. To all those over paid town officals who work in this beautiful town and in your country club like work place its time for change. The BOT should have at least a 10% cut across the board and use those revenues toward a full time FD. The majority of residents will gladly pay the difference after seeing what happen this week over poor decisions made back in July of 2018 . My Deepest Condolences to Magidan Family .

  43. I hope FABGC and group’s promise to have a real “needs and risk assessment” of the Village’s fire needs is given the highest priority.

    While I respect Mayor Cosmo for ending the ridiculousness of a $10,000,000 firehouse to get the votes of volunteers firefighters and focusing on the actual “needs” of the Village, after 4 homes totally engulfed in the last year, the Village needs to understand that firefighting is a deadly serious business and take a real hard look at whether our Volleys after 90 years of a “combo” department are up to the challenge. That is no attack on the Volleys that clearly are wonderful people volunteering, but maybe the focus of the BOT should not be a newfirehouse, but more recruitment, better training, 24 hour staffing, etc.

  44. Billy Boy says:

    The BOT started implementing cuts to the paid firefighters based on the flawed ICMA report, however the very first thing the report said was to conduct a risk analysis of the villlage. Bill Castoro at the time said the document is “fluid” aka a risk analysis was never done. The vollies just wanted to get rid of the paid guys because they weren’t allowed to drive the fire trucks or the “paid guys” were getting out of the firehouse to respond before the vollies even knew there was a call!

    • “The vollies just wanted to get rid of the paid guys because they weren’t allowed to drive the fire trucks or the “paid guys” were getting out of the firehouse to respond before the vollies even knew there was a call!”

      Actually the Volley’s are trained to drive [all] the apparatus. When we had a paid corp, they had one engine that was ‘theirs’ but all other rigs were driven by Volley’s.

      Also, responding to other posts – I haven’t been in the GCFD for many years but when I was a Volley, we carried our turnout gear in our cars and could respond either directly to the scene or to HQ and man one of the rigs.

      I understand the frustration, anger, and dismay that people are expressing here but much of what I am reading is simply ignorant.

      Maybe procedures have changed in the ensuing years but it is apparent to me that someone is still grinding an axe and others simply don’t know…

      • It was the opposite. Before the paid force was beginning to be dismantled through attrition they staffed the engines at the two satellite houses and headquarters. They also drove the ladder truck. At every fire call there was a two engine and one ladder initial response with 2 or 4 paid firefighters. The volunteers would go to the scene as the apparatus was likely already on scene as the vollies were leaving their houses. The vollies drove the rescue and one spare engine and ladder for training.

        The combination system was great in concept but was woefully mismanaged by the BOT and ruined by the constant fighting between the union and vollies that went unchecked for years.

  45. Time to come together . . . says:

    While an independent investigation of the response time for this tragic fire needs to be conducted, given the Hilton Avenue fire where there were allegations of poor response time, we might have a problem with our relatively new all volunteer fire department. No disrespect to these incredible volunteers who risk their lives to protect us, but if they need more resources including paid firefighters, our village will make them available.

    There is a lot of back and forth above – today let’s mourn the lives lost and prayer for the Madigan family (consider donating to the family –

    Then let’s work together as a community to assess how we can prevent future tragedies such as fire prevention zoom calls, encouraging all homes to reassess the number of smoke/CO detectors and consider upgrading (see CR ratings for the latest devices – as well as assessing whether we need to bring back paid firefighters.

  46. Fire Marshall says there were no working smoke alarms in the house. Sadly, no one could have saved this family. Paid or volunteer it does not matter.

    • Bill Collins Making Up Facts says:

      Bill Collins, you don’t know that.

      That was an incredibly stupid statement

      • It was on the front page of Newsday.

        • The statement that no one could have been saved because there was no working fire alarms is stupid. Newsday says there was no working fire alarms, you however, on your own, put in a false and unprovable conclusion.

          You should be embarrassed

          • As do you. The conditions by the time the fire was reported made entry impossible. Fire was pushing out of the house when 911 was called. Several GCFD firefighters were burned trying to make it to the stairs to the second floor. Others tried to enter the second floor through the windows via ladders and were driven back by the heat. Reports are that there were oxygen bottles in the residence which fed the intensity of the fire.
            Of course I know I’ wasting my time writing this because I’m sure you don’t care about the facts and will just continue spreading the vile lies that will press your false narrative forward.

    • Retired Nassau PD says:

      Bill Collins I think the 911 tapes May dispute your claim.

      • Resident says:

        What does that mean? Do you know something that is in the 911 tapes? If so, let’s hear what it is. Otherwise stop with the blind accusations – the family has asked for all this to stop. Lets honor their wishes

    • Samual says:

      It’s very hard for a fire investigator to determine whether or not there were working smoke detectors in the house.

  47. Volunteer Chiefs have some explaining to do says:

    Three firehouses strategically placed across the village. Headquarters has the most equipment. A paid lieutenant and two paid firefighters on duty 24/7. During the weekday the staffing may increase due to other officers and paid firefighters doing day work. Each satellite firehouse staffed 24 hours a day with two firefighters manning a pumper at each station. The volunteers had their protective gear with them and met the paid firefighters at the scene. The weekdays for the firefighters were spent with fire prevention inspections and training. Someone calls for help and the dispatcher at the county officer in Westbury answers the call and dispatches Garden City. When that phone rang it also went off in each firehouse and the paid firefighters could listen. They had a head start. When there is a fire we want all the head starts we can get. A volunteer that would fight against this system – question if public safety is indeed their focus. Because it was the volunteers that busted that system up. Why delay getting help to a fire? So there is still something to do for the volunteers? Two firefighters that went to a career academy and follow a routine at work and that are constantly training, then arriving with a pumper that has a water tank on it, water sufficient for supplying fire hoses – that’s a lot different than a volunteer chief arriving in a SUV. Water makes the difference all of the time, getting it there fast only helps to save lives. Why was this system done away with? I see comments about the 911 tapes. Well there was a system where the call could be listened to and that got the guys responding that much faster! Why?

    • So sad says:

      For godsakes – this is about the family. This is not about your Union jobs. Shame on you. The family has asked for this to stop. If you care anything about the community, let us grieve and pray for our neighbors. This whole exchange is disgusting.

      • Backfire Bob says:

        They will never hear you…. they are so filled with venom about the loss of their jobs that they will exploit any tragedy for their selfish purposes.

        You would think with all their failings on the job, they wouldn’t be cansting such stones, since it could result in an exposé on their “professionalism. “

    • Disgusted and heartbroken says:

      Why delay getting help to the fire?! I seem to recall reading something about one of the arbitrations being filed because the volunteers were down the block from an alarm and they got there first. The paid firefighters filed a complaint because the volunteers didn’t wait to leave until the paid firemen left. They could be next door but they could not respond until the paid firemen left. That is delaying getting help to the fire. That is not in the best interest of the residents – that is not about protecting residents. That is Union tactics. Please – I don’t know if you live here or if you are a paid firefighter or who you are BUT – get the facts instead of making allegations that just are not true. And – you should be ashamed of yourself to be so selfish that you disregard the family’s wishes and continue to use this tragedy as a platform to undermine the job the volunteer firefighters do to protect the village. THINK ABOUT THE FAMILY. Have this discussion at a more appropriate time. The GC News should respect the family’s wishes and turn off the comments.

      • Doody says:

        One might ask why did the volunteers prevent the paid firefighters from monitoring the 911 calls from the outlying firehouses? I’ll tell you, they wanted to level the response playing field. Now tell me that isn’t slowing response?

        • Long time Resident says:

          One might ask why are you continuing to comment like this when the family asked about 70 comments ago to stop. Do you really care about the residents? If so, why don’t you wait for the facts to be found out through the investigation and stop using this tragedy as a platform for the Union jobs that were lost. Just stop already

  48. Stewart says:

    It’s the same person writing most of the disparaging comments, IP address is the same, he is just a troll. GC News should disable the comment section.

  49. We Need an Outside Investigation says:

    The Village needs a real risk and needs assessment. It is not just a matter of Paid vs Volunteer. Volunteers clearly work across Long Island.

    The old BOT decided to get rid of the Paid firefighters without any analysis. So the question might not be paid vs volleys, but are OUR volleys up to the job after being supplemental to the Paid firefighters for 90 years. Were they prepared to go from back up to firefighters that manned the firehouses 24/7, to doing that job themselves. Is our volunteer leadership, that we all saw spent the last year pushing for a $10,000 000 firehouse and winning a political election, up to the job? Are hey focused enough? Are too many volunteeers from other towns? Did the fire chief inform they BOT that there was no engine in the Eastern Firehouse for months?

    We ripped a large part of the firefighters out of our fire protection, with no analysis, no plan to see if the volleys were up to speed, no thought what so ever.

    And investigation is needed and hopefully wont be a whitewash like the Olcott fire.

  50. Let’s be clear. A chief’s car showing up is not a response. Water on fire. How long did that take in this case and the Hilton Ave fires?

    Questions to be answered include: what were the water on fire response times with PFF and without PFF, what are times for the same in comparable towns such as RVC?

    The former BOT away intent on getting rid of the PFF, in large part because the PFF were at constant war with the Village and volleys. Very toxic situation, which cannot be denied. Rationally, if other towns have all volleys, why can’t GC. Are our fire houses not adequately staffed 24/7, are our volleys inadequately trained, do too many live elsewhere?

    Only an independent investigation by an outside firm can answer these questions with credibility.

    • The only question is not PFF vs Volleys.

      An additional question is did the BOT handle a transition from a “combo” fire department, to a fully volunteer department, adequately.

      I would be there was ZERO transition planning done. No discussion of Volleys assumingn additional responsibility, no discussion of 24/7 staffing of fire stations, etc.

      We were sold a bill of goods by the BOT when they said we would be “just as safe”.

  51. Let's Be Fair says:

    Let’s face it folks, almost all of the comments here are agenda driven – possibly even being posted by disgruntled union firefighters and others with an axe to grind, either against the volunteers or the Village government.

    Over the years, there have been devastating fires in this Village, a few with fatalities. All those incidents were while there were union firefighters on duty.

    So, to speculate, and that is the only appropriate word, that union firefighters would have saved these people is a genuine disservice.

    I would suggest that unless one can answer each of these questions factually, they refrain from painting the volunteers as demons and the union firefighters as saviors:

    1. What caused the fire?
    2. When did the fire start?
    3. Where did the fire start?
    4. Was there anything near the fire that could have cause an accelerated burn?
    5. How long did the fire burn before being discovered?

  52. Retired NYFD says:

    There is no way to predict what may have happened. If the career firefighters were still in service could they have been delayed responding? Could the fire engine not start? Could a firefighter slip and break his leg before getting on the fire engine? Could the fire engine have gotten into an accident while on the way? Could a tree have fallen in its path? That’s speculation as well.

    Bottom like and it is apparent from all of these posts, this is an emotionally charged topic. A family is grieving, a tragedy occurred, some people feel helpless, some feel responsible, some may even be on suicide watch.

    But that aside, if a 911 call came from this house, that call gets routed to Nassau Fire Communications. When their phone rings the phones used to ring in the firehouses in the village. The firefighters on duty listened in on the call. They would be on the road in seconds.

    That’s been done away with. Forget about what one thinks of the average career firefighter in Garden City. Maybe he spent more time using a fire hose to fill a bird bath for the mayor. But he was still a career academy trained professional with responsibilities that cannot be disregarded because he didn’t feel like going on the call.

    Forget about highly motivated volunteers that can do the job better (opinion) cause for them it’s not a career it’s their passion and they’ve taken a ton of classes and they feel they’re better than any career firefighters. Forget all that.

    In today’s environment more and more fire departments and municipalities are looking into or establishing paid contingents because volunteers are not a guarantee.

    That’s a fact. Another fact is the village had a system that ensured rapid response and fast water on the fire. A chiefs car with a kid in it that doesn’t put his fire clothing on when there are people trapped is NOT a fire engine with an on board water.

    The village had a system as I described above and the village got rid of it. That needs to be investigated and people need to be held accountable.

    There is no price tag on human life and a human life is worth a lot more than any renovation for a clubhouse that had fire engines parked in it. The cost of the new ladder truck (they have two) and the military looking rescue truck (all of the rescue equipment cab be distributed amount the engines and the other ladder) could have kept paid firefighters on duty.

    And I’d like someone to explain the comments that I keep seeing how some firefighters were paid to stay home?

    • The PFF aware terminated despite there being a contract in place, so the Village paid them substantial settlements to go away. They were paid to stay home is one way of look8mg at it. Paid enough so they didn’t have to immediately find another job.

  53. Investigation in order.... says:

    I keep seeing comments about adequate coverage and manpower by the volunteers at the stations….newsflash…Volunteers dont man the stations and have 24 7 coverage. They have homes they respond from…..and is it true that Mineola FD beat GCFD to the fire? Is it true that since there is no spare Engine Station 3 engine moved to station 2 and no coverage at station 3.

  54. GC Resident says:

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE bring back the paid fire department!!! Most of the residents, aside from the Vollies did NOT want to do away with the paid department. Guess what…our taxes haven’t gone down and look what we lost? WAKE up people! Paid fire fighters are held accountable for their behavior on duty and are not running off to Westbury to try and save the day. We need fire protection in Garden City with minimal response time.

    • Disgusted by these comments says:

      This whole exchange is disgusting. All these comments are about union jobs and not about the 3 precious lives that were lost. Investigation is underway – just stop this. Think of the family reading this. Let them grieve in peace

    • Our department didn’t “run off” to Westbury – they were asked to help. Just like other departments came to help on Thursday morning at the Madigan residence. While several members of the GCFD were at Westbury that night, there were still members at the Headquarters on Stewart Avenue available for any other calls coming in from Garden City. The members of the GCFD were home from Westbury several hours before the call came in around 5:30AM. Check your facts.

  55. Disgusted says:

    Career firefighters did not leave the village. On occasion if one of them was needed to drive an apparatus that a volunteer wasn’t qualified to drive, the chief would order them to drive. But career firefighters still remained in the village. There was always coverage for the village. Career firefighters in every firehouse. Two men and a pumper in each outplaying station and then two men and a Lieutenant at the main firehouse. A call comes in for a fire and the nearest pumper goes, followed by the staff from headquarters. Help was two or three minutes away 24/365. Why did we get rid of this? Who were the fire chiefs when the career force was fired? Please post the names of the chiefs and the village trustees so that they can explain their reasons for this. Didn’t the volunteer chief say at the village board meeting that he cannot guarantee a response? Is it true that the night the career firefighters were fired the volunteers toasted and celebrated at the main firehouse bar? Eventually the truth about all of this will come out. There have been remarks about how volunteers alleged that career firefighters made problems for them? Let’s discuss how the volunteers went after people who came out to support the career firefighters. The phone calls that were made, the harassment and the intimidation. How about the conversations in the lobby of the village board meeting between trustees and members the night the career firefighters were fired? Something to the effect of “you ready to do this?” People need to be held accountable and it stars with the village board and the chiefs at the time of this decision. Why was the village left unprotected? Were Garden City fire trucks covering another village during this fire and did they delay them even more? Was that village left unprotected when our fire trucks left to come back to town? All of this wouldn’t be discussed right now if the career members and combination system was left alone. What would have happened would have been a fast response and a good possibility of a different outcome.

    • Yes, but it is not only the BOT that are responsible. The residents in general did not vote because the POA system was a joke that they convinced the Village was “free and open”. The POA directors and nominating committee members, of which I am a member of, knew this was a scam.

      So you had 250 residents voting, the volunteers, as DIRECTED by the chief, went out and voted under his direction to “Be there at 9AM when the polls open with your family and wear your uniform”. So 50 volleys with thier families controlled the election. The POAs allowed it to happen so they could maintain their position of power and the BOT members sold themselves to the volleys for 200 votes. FOR 200 VOTES!

      Let’s face it now, with 3-4000 people voting, the volleys bet and lost. The whole system was corrupt and the POAs, the group that tells us for our $20 that they represent us, allowed this to happen. Did nothing.

      If FABGarden City does anything, I hope it ends this disgusting system before anyone else suffers. The BOT, the POAs, the Fire Chiefs will all have to live with the damage they have wrought to this village.

      • Kim says:

        The time it took the fire dept. to arrive is irrelevant as that family was already dead from smoke inhalation without even knowing it and all due to non-working smoke detectors. They would have tried to escape, had they been conscious but unfortunately, it takes minutes of smoke inhalation, especially while asleep, to kill you. The guy that first saw it, tried to enter and help but the smoke was too excessive. He was the one that made the call but it was already too late. Somehow a dog was still alive but that’s about it. The only thing that could have helped is a working smoke detector. The other question is, how did this start to begin with? Knowing that information is crucial in preventing this from happening going forward.

        • D Kensington says:

          Response time is one important link in the life safety chain that starts with working smoke detectors and residential fire extinguishers in each room. A working smoke detector followed by quick egress, 911 notification and rapid response and application of water on the fire. The major flaw in the volley system on LI and elsewhere is you cannot guarantee a timely response (or any response) as it is subject to numerous variables. Since the firefighters do not man the stations valuable time is lost in transitioning to their personal vehicles and driving to the assigned station. Then they must don PPE and hope a qualified chauffeur arrives to drive the apparatus to the scene after amassing a minimum crew. It takes at least 3 or 4 firefighters to stretch a hose line and effect an aggressive interior attack. 2 more are needed to search for the source of fire and occupants and 2 or 3 more are needed for external ventilation and laddering. This minimum must be followed by additional manpower to stretch backup hose lines and relieve the initial response. Today’s residences have significantly more combustible and non-fire retardant materials that burn hotter and emit more toxic smoke. The firefighters also carry more weight in PPE and other gear that allows for more aggressive entry but reduces the time until exhaustion. The combination department, if properly managed, can provide more certainty in the response. Nothing can beat a 24/7 fully staffed fire department but unless implemented by the entire county the cost and structural issues would be difficult to overcome at the village level. All of the fire apparatus need to be adequately staffed and able to respond quickly to be useful in saving lives and property. How the previous BOT was able to state there would be no change in fire service coverage without 24/7 staffing is mind boggling. The combination department lasted 90-odd years. Was it always the snake pit we witnessed for the last 15 or so years or was there a time it worked for all involved? The BOT and volley chiefs need to be upfront with the community on what they can expect from the current state of the fire service in Garden City. How many members are interior qualified? How many qualified engine and truck company chauffeurs are there? How many of each respond to what percentage of calls? What is the timeline on each call from initial FireCom dispatch to a staffed engine at the scene? The community and GC News should ask these and other questions and the GCFD and BOT should start managing expectations and there seems to be a rise in fire activity county-wide in the last year.

        • Time to explain things says:

          The first fire engine to arrive at this fire, not fire chiefs truck, the first fire engine, where was it from? What fire department and where did it come from?

          Did it come from that fire department in a different community?

          Did it come from standing by in Westbury or on the return from Westbury?

          Was the first fire engine on the scene from Garden City or from somewhere else?

          Is it true that the first vehicle to arrive was a fire chief that didn’t even put his fire gear on?

          I wish the smoke alarm comments would stop because many people keep saying that someone from the house was on the line with 911 as the fire department was being alerted.

    • The village was not left unprotected. GCFD was released from Westbury at 2:30AM. Even while one truck is on mutual aid there is still our own manpower and apparatus in the village.

  56. Nothing Went Right ! says:

    There is a story that I have now heard more then once. The unidentified male was living in the basement and was on some type of oxygen and was possibly smoking . If thats the case and there was some type of aggressive explosion everyone has to stop pointing the finger at the Vollies to some extent. Even the best smoke detectors would become a moot issue too . This information is NOT confirmed .

    • Shaking my head says:

      Seriously? Now we have conspiracy theories. People…it took 20 minutes to get water on the fire….dont change focus. Let’s regroup and come up with a solution. Bottom line there are problems that need to be addressed.

      • The only conspiracy is coming from the union hacks in this comments section saying it took 20 minutes when it did not.

      • Aye, Aye, Aye says:

        Do you have OFFICIAL documentation as to the duration of time for water, or are you just mimicking the comments of others who probably know even less than you do?

  57. Clearly a volunteer chief isn’t cutting it. Would one paid firefighter, a real firefighter, the chief, be a union issue?

    • Volunteers are real firefighters. You have no idea the amount of training it takes.

      • Conspiracy says:

        I agree…some are and some are not. It took 20 minutes for water not to get on scene…snd….what firefighter in his right mind first on scene doesnt put on his gear with reports of persons trapped. William Collins are you a firefighter asking for a friend.

      • In many aspect of life, those that are paid professionals have more training than volunteers. Which is why we have paid brain surgeons and not volunteer brain surgeons.

        There is no disrespect intended towards the great Volunteers, but it is nonsensical to say a volunteer has the management experience, training and real life experience of a paid Firefighter that has been doing a particular job 40-60 hours a week versus a volunteer that does his volunteer outside of his mortgage paying job. So let’s stop being disingenious and maybe consider that a full time paid chief, might not solve some of the issues and open questions. Clearly, the last volunteer chiefs were not able to handle the management challenge of a paid/volunteer combo and I don’t know why the Mayor thinks endorsing someone as chief that spent the last year running the “committee to re-elect mark hyer” is up to the task.

        I don’t even understand how a non-profit is able to become a sub rosa political institution in this Village.

  58. People have forgotten that accidents happen, and not every situation needs blame. Unfortunately, this was a devastating, tragic accident. The firefighters who responded to the scene are not to blame. The dispatch records show that the 20 minute response time is false information. This fire was called in by a man driving by, who saw the house already in flames. This means that because this was a call-in, there was no automatic activated alarm, confirming the fire marshal’s statement that there were no working smoke detectors in their home. Upon arrival of the first chief (within 5 minutes of the call), the house was already engulfed in flames. Paid or not, there was not much the firefighters could do. They heard reports of people inside, and aggressively tried to enter the home. Several of them got burned due to the extensive fire and heat, but they kept trying to get in and locate the stairwell to get upstairs to the bedrooms (using common sense that at the hour of the fire, many people would still be in bed). Please remember that the GCFD members are doing this because they WANT to, they want to help the community. Which they do, every single day when their pagers go off. People seem to have forgotten that just days prior to this, our department responded to a horrific car accident on Franklin Avenue and cut a girl out of her car within minutes, she came out unscathed. There is nobody to blame for this, the only thing that could have potentially saved the family is a working smoke detector. Instead of blaming the firefighters for doing what SO many of us would run away from, let’s join together as a community and memorialize those who died and support the surviving siblings whose hearts have just been shattered into a million pieces. Trashing the GCFD will do nothing to help the Madigan family.

    • Also, please stop referring to the paid department as “real firefighters.” You clearly have no idea what the volunteers do on a weekly basis in terms of training, drills, meetings, simulations, etc.

  59. This tragic incident has more to do with working smoke detectors than the firefighters. This is a sad reminder for the public to check their smoke alarms and make sure they’re working. A helpful tip is to change the batteries twice a year, with daylights saving.

    • This fire probably does have more to do with smoke detectors than firefighters. However, since we have moved from a paid/volunteer combo, without the recommended “needs analysis” that was recommended, and clearly a misleading vote and outright false statements by the last BOT that we would be just as safe as with vollies coming from out of town, as paid that are stationed in the firestations, I hope the new BOT cuts thru the politcal lies and has a real look at the volleys, and whether we are safe enough, and whether our particular volleys that seem to focus more on getting just in village hall and as brownies, are up to the task.

      This should have been done after the Olcott fire, and instead we got a 6 page flyer signed by Trustee Delaney telling us how great the response times are. And no one believed it.

      • Let's Have A Real Perspective says:

        Where were your calls for investigations for the devastating fires and fire fatalities over the past decades? Where were your demands for accountability when a resident died in a fire across from the firehouse, and another two blocks way, when the paid firefighters were on duty?

        There weren’t any, because we know that tragedies in life occur. There weren’t any, because the union had no reason to come on here anonymously to trash the volunteers and point fingers, especially since they would be in the direction of those pointing fingers.

        • Just because the last BOT was incompetent, doesn’t mean this BOT has to stick their heads in the sand for 200 volley votes.

          And you make my point, “devastating fires over the last decades”. DECADES plural.

          Now they seem to be happening every other month.

          No one should fear a fair investigation. No one.

          • Let's Have A Real Perspective says:

            You somehow forgot to address the point that those fires in the past that were devastating and fatal, while paid firefighters were on duty, did not generate the same disdain as this last fatality.

            You also presume that paid firefighters could have saved the day at any of those fires, while ignoring the fact the Fire Department, and the Police Department for crimes, are usually called after something has started. To think otherwise is silly.

            Unless you have official, documented facts in your possession, for any of those fires, that show that the devastation and deaths didn’t occur until after the fire department was called, then I suggest you keep your opinion to yourself. Spouting off without facts is divisive and serves no useful purpose.

            When the facts come out, then we can have, hopefully, an honest discussion. Of course, we’d have to account for anyone who wouldn’t believe the truth if they want a different outcome.

        • To argue that we didnt have an investigation before, so therefore we should have one now is the dumbest post written on this board this week.

          If we let one mistake pass, let’s let another mistake pass.

          As to the “union coming in here anonymously to trash the volunteers”, I was 100 behind ending the paid firefighters, but that doesnt leave me blind to the issues and the problem

          I would have thought as a volley you would be concerned with making sure safety is paramount, not just worrying about your BS political agenda.

          • Let's Have A Real Perspective says:

            If you are writing about something I posted, then I suggest you read it again. At no point have I advocated for NOT having an ‘investigation’ of what happened, nor did I say anything about union firefighters bashing volunteers.

            Simply put, I said that until the facts are out, no one on here is competent to say what happened.

            My suggestion was that we wait until the facts are determined and released, since to anything else means people are just spouting off, with no idea of what happened, which does nothing more than foment discord in the Village.

  60. I’d like to know why is a town like Garden City with some of the largest most expensive homes on Long Island allowed to get rid of paid Fire Departments? This should be mandatory and it should be a minimum of 2 for every town larger then a certain radius. If you put one on each end of town, make them conducive to the homes that occupy that town and keep them ready to roll 24/7 this would end this crisis. If you can afford to live in Garden City you can afford to build 2 huge fully equipped fire houses that have paid fire fighters 25/7. If you want fire fighters in 5 minutes do the right thing for everyone involved paid and volunteer. You better get on that you got many old and precious homes with wonderful families to protect and you got your work cut out for you.

Leave a Reply