UPDATE: Local Firefighters Help Contain Brush Fire Situation

County executive Steve Bellone called 109 fire departments in Suffolk County to help extinguish the large brush fires in the area around Brookhaven National Laboratory.

UPDATE 8:41 a.m.: Fires are contained on Tuesday morning as firefighters switch shifts and continue to battle at least four separate blazes that broke out on Tuesday across Manorville, Calverton and other locations in Suffolk County.

An acrid smell of smoke blankets the entire East End as, according to Riverhead Town Police Chief David Hegermiller, the fires have been contained.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said on Tuesday morning that the brush fires in Ridge are still actively burning and not under control, although the area of the blaze did not expand overnight.

There is no need for additional evacuations, he said in an impromptu, televised press briefing. 

Bellone said if winds pick up later today the situation could change again and all means are being employed to get as much water on the flames before winds shift.

Efforts are underway to retrive six fire brush trucks that became stuck in the marshy area late last night, as reported by Patch. Those trucks were in no danger, just stuck, volunteer firefighters reported.

Bellone commended firefighters who have been fighting the flames in dangerous conditions.

ORIGINAL STORY: Monday, 9:43 p.m.

The Stony Brook Fire Department is among 109 fire departments in Suffolk County called to help battle the raging brush fires in the Ridge area. Chief Andy Seelin said Monday night that two Stony Brook chiefs led a team of 14 on Engine 5832 and a utility vehicle to assist.

Seelin said he has not heard any updates from the scene from his members because "it's very hard to communicate right now."

The Setauket Fire Department could not confirm the number of firefighters it sent to help battle the brush fires.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone warned locals that as darkness has fallen, the dangers surround the raging brush fires in Ridge have grown – and it could be days before the fires are extinguished.

"This a rapidly shifting situation," Bellone said at a press conference Monday night, urging people to stay as far away from the scene as possible to let firefighters do their work. "This fire could go on for some time."

Three firefighters have been injured and treated at the Stony Brook University Burn center; one has been admitted with 2nd and 3rd degree burns.

No fatalities have been reported.

The 106th Air National Guard is on standby and ready to assist, as are state police. The goal, Bellone, is to make sure no firefighter is put in danger by an aerial water drop.

According to a release issued by the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, the fire broke out at the Laboratory in the northern portion of the site, east of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collidor complex. Officials said the laboratory's sewage treatment plant was evacuated as a precaution. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Two Manorville residences and one commercial building have been destroyed, and two additional homes are still on fire. The situation Bellone said is "as serious as it gets," the most serious brush fires since 1995.

Currently, 236 homes are without power and the county is coordinating with the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid.

The Primrose Path area of Manorville has also been evacuated.

Fires are still not contained and are moving in a southeasterly direction. It is not yet clear how the fires started.

A Manorville fire truck was destroyed in the blaze.

Bellone asked that residents do not call 911 unless it is an emergency as phone systems are overloaded.


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