06/23/14 12:00pm
06/23/2014 12:00 PM

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Tuesday, June 24, to reflect the fact that the Southold Town police and building departments are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal fire.

Investigators say the Mattituck fire that claimed a 51-year-old man’s life Friday night was caused by an electrical problem. (more…)

12/09/13 7:00am
12/09/2013 7:00 AM
Two fire commissioner seats are being contested on the North Fork this Tuesday while a proposition in another district would extend a program to reward firefighters for answering calls and attending training.

In the Mattituck Fire District, incumbent William Young has decided not to seek re-election. Three members of the department are vying for his open seat. Nearby in Cutchogue, challenger Drew McCaffrey will face incumbent Arthur Brewer for his seat on the board.

The Southold, Orient and East Marion districts are also holding elections for open fire commissioner seats, though the incumbents are running unopposed in those votes.

For a breakdown of the fire district elections on Dec. 10, see below:


Voting from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Mattituck fire station on Pike Street.

One seat for a five-year term is open:

• John Heeg joined the department 10 years ago after spending nine years with the North Patchogue Fire Department. He has been a captain in the department, a member of the dive rescue team, an EMT and a member of the Suffolk County urban search and rescue team. Mr. Heeg is also an Iraq war veteran, having served as a Navy medic stationed with Marine units in 2006. He is now a member of the Air National Guard in Westhampton Beach.

Mr. Heeg said he attended a recent commissioners meeting where heavy rescue equipment was discussed, and he believes his insights could aid the board. “I’d like to be onboard with that,” he said. Mr. Heeg also said he would ensure the department had the equipment it needed without placing a burden on taxpayers.

• Leonard Llewellyn, with the department for 43 years, is an ex-captain of the fire patrol. He now serves as the public information offi cer for the department and advisor to the Bulldogs, Mattituck’s junior fire department. In the 1980s, he completed a course at Suffolk County Community College in fire protection.

“I believe through my education … I can give [the board] an analytical approach to it and some information they might not know,” he said. Mr. Llewellyn said his business experience as a fire protection consultant would also aid the board in keeping up with current fi refighting trends.

• Michael Sweeney joined the MFD 20 years ago and has served as a captain and a lieutenant and as co-chairman of the 100th anniversary parade. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for the board five years ago against Mr. Young.

Mr. Sweeney, a business owner since 1974, said he would use his experience to manage the department’s funds. “You just have to make sure everything’s running smoothly, watching every dollar and making sure you’re not spending it ridiculously.” Mr. Sweeney said he would balance taxpayer concerns with the needs of the department, like a new radio tower so members can receive all alerts when there is an alarm.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cutchogue fire headquarters on New Suffolk Road.

One seat for a five-year term is open:

• Incumbent Arthur Brewer has been with the CFD for 33 years, including as chief of the department, and has spent 10 years as a commissioner.

He said the board has done a good job keeping taxes low during the economic downturn. “The younger guys may think you can go out and buy a new truck, but you can’t,” Mr. Brewer said. “You have to be responsible.” He said he would continue to build on his successes and work toward upgrading the district’s storage and communications facilities while balancing the needs of taxpayers.

• Drew McCaffrey joined the department 20 years ago and served as chief in 2009 and 2010. He remains an active member of the department.

Mr. McCaffrey said he sees a lack of planning for the department’s future needs and would bring a “fresh perspective with creative ideas and an open mind.” Mr. McCaffrey said two of the department’s three engines will need to be replaced soon due to state regulations, and he said having a plan for how to pay for the engines would prevent a “significant burden” on the district’s taxpayers.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the East Marion firehouse.

Two seats are open:

• Incumbent commissioner Donald Dzenkowski is running unopposed for a five-year term.

• Incumbent commissioner Michael Griffin, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board, is running unopposed to finish the balance of the term.

One proposition is on the ballot:

• If approved, the district would increase its service award program from a 30-year limit to a 40-year limit. The state-approved program awards volunteers $240 per year if they complete a certain number of credits by taking training classes and responding to alarms. The program is currently in its 25th year in the East Marion department; volunteers in the program for more than 30 years would no longer earn the award. Fire district officials said extending the program to 40 years would encourage experienced volunteers to remain activelonger. The program cost the district $70,000 this year, down from $130,000 the year before. If the proposition is approved, the cost would increase to $75,500 next year.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Southold firehouse on Route 25. One seat is open:

• Incumbent commissioner Donald Sayre is running unopposed for another five-year term.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Orient firehouse on Main Road One seat is open

•  Fire Chief Joseph Wysocki is running unopposed for a five-year term.

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10/20/13 3:26pm
10/20/2013 3:26 PM

North Fork Fire police Association

More than a dozen veteran North Fork fire department volunteers were honored for 50 years of service at a ceremony in Cutchogue Thursday.

The men, who come from four different area fire departments, were recognized with an award from the New York State Association of Fire Police.

Honored at the ceremony held at the Cutchogue firehouse on New Suffolk Road were:


Frank Begora Jr.

Arthur Quintana

William Volinski


George Cappon

Richard Sledjeski (posthumously)


John Anderson

Perry Conklin

Daniel Kaelin II

Lewis Tomaszewski

Albin Zaweski

Stanley Zaweski


Robert Reeves Jr.

Joseph Soito

09/19/13 3:49pm
09/19/2013 3:49 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | A fire was reported at Greenport School Thursday.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | A fire was reported at Greenport School Thursday.

An electrical fire sparked on the roof of Greenport School as students were leaving for dismissal Thursday, school and fire officials said.

Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda said Friday two crossed electrical wires in a new junction box caused a surge that started the small fire on the roof. He said it happened during the “testing” of the electrical system and no damage was done to the solar system since it had not been hooked up.

Some black soot was visible on the side of the building and there was minor damage to the roof and electrical wiring, officials said.

The Greenport Fire Department received the emergency call shortly before at 3 p.m. and the fire was extinguished within 35 minutes, officials said.

No mutual aid was needed and no injuries were reported.

Mr. Comanda said Thursday he was grateful for the quick work of the fire department.

“These guys are great,” he said.

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09/17/13 11:39am
09/17/2013 11:39 AM
CREDIT CUTCHOGUE FIRE DEPARTMENT | A car fire on Monday afternoon shut down Route 48.

CREDIT CUTCHOGUE FIRE DEPARTMENT | A car fire on Monday afternoon shut down Route 48.

A car fire yesterday afternoon partially engulfed a Volkswagon in flames, though no injuries were reported in the incident.

According to Cutchogue Fire Department First Assistant Chief Bill Brewer, the driver of the car was heading eastbound on Route 48 near Cox Lane with a passenger in tow when smoke started billowing from under the hood of the car. After the driver pulled over and both people exited safely, Cutchogue F.D. was called to the scene around 2:30, with three trucks coming to aid.

Fire, Cutchogue  and Southold Town Police were on scene for about a half hour, and traffic was detoured while fire crews led by Chief Antone Berkoski put out the fire.

CREDIT CUTCHOGUE FIRE DEPARTMENT | A car fire on Monday afternoon shut down Route 48.

CREDIT CUTCHOGUE FIRE DEPARTMENT | Members of the Cutchogue Fire Department put out a car fire on Monday.

07/02/13 12:00pm
07/02/2013 12:00 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters outside Cliff's Rendezvous after last Tuesday's grease fire.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters outside Cliff’s Rendezvous after last Tuesday’s grease fire.

Cliff’s Rendezvous is slowly recovering and rebuilding from a fire at the popular downtown eatery last week, the restaurant’s owner said Monday.

Owner Cliff Saunders said last Tuesday’s fire started when one of the chefs in the kitchen left a pan of bacon unattended near the oven and the boiler.

“It must’ve spattered and that’s why it ignited,” Mr. Saunders said.

The Riverhead Fire Department arrived at the restaurant shortly before 3 p.m. to extinguish the blaze. The firefighting effort closed down a part of East Main Street between Union and Maple avenues for about an hour before roads were reopened.

As a result of the fire, the restaurant suffered minor damage and has been closed since last week, Mr. Saunders said. A small section of the roof near the chimney was charred as a result of the fire, he said, adding that carpeting in the lower dining room was damaged and will have to be replaced as well.

“There was some damage from the firemen using the hose,” Mr. Saunders said. “It washed out into the dining room and it kind of flooded the floor so we had to tear the carpet up … The damage is fairly minimal, it’s just a matter of rebuilding.”

Mr. Saunders said he hopes to reopen the restaurant within a week or two.

He said he was grateful for the outpouring of support from both town employees and the community.

“The town has been nothing but stellar,” Mr. Saunders said. “A couple of our customers work for the town and they want to see us open.”

Just a few days after the fire at Cliff’s Rendezvous, a major fire occurred at Athens Grill just down the street. Having been through a similar, but less severe incident, Mr. Saunders is sympathetic to what his neighbors are going through now and was glad no one was hurt in either fire.

“If you drive down Main Street past Athens Grill you can still smell [the smoke] in the road,” Mr. Saunders said. “I just hope they can get everything repaired, because something like that could have happened to us.”