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.
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.