Hastings on Hudson Fire Department
Hastings on Hudson Fire Department
Hastings on Hudson Fire Department

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Hastings Fire Department, EMS and Police take on Ida.
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By Assistant Chief Brian Schnibbe
September 7, 2021

The first drops of rain came down in our area shortly after sunset on Wednesday evening, September 1st. Quickly turning into historic rain totals in only a few hours, the fire department, EMS, dispatch at 60 control and the police department became inundated with calls. The following is a chronological recap of the evenings events and the days to follow. Included, you will find some outstanding selfless acts of heroism by our fellow Hastings residents and volunteers.

At 21:35hrs on September 1st, we received our first weather related fire call at 10 W Main Street. Followed by a call for rapidly rising waters in a basement and garage on Tompkins Ave. Quickly we took in both calls and realized the severity of the weather and what this village and its public service departments were in for.

The fire chiefs immediately decided to call a standby for all fire companies and EMS to standby at their quarters for the duration of the storm. The county dispatch became so busy, so fast they made a request to have individual departments self dispatch because they would be unable to handle the call volume. The calls would be automatically dumped into our computer system and we would dispatch our apparatus accordingly. We luckily have these capabilities.

At 21:47, having just set up for individual dispatch at our headquarters, we received a call for a party trapped in their car with rising waters on the Saw Mill Parkway. Engine 45, Rescue 100, and the remaining fire chiefs on the road (2181, 2183, 2184) handled that call quickly and the party was brought to dry land.

2182 handled the dispatch duties and had a direct line to Hastings Police Sergeant Tom O’Sullivan Jr. who was on the desk fielding all emergency calls to headquarters regarding basements filling with water. The police desk passed off all addresses to Assistant Chief Schnibbe as they came in and the fire department apparatus were split up and dispatched accordingly to take in and assess all properties and residences that called. Along with checking on the well-being of the occupants at each place.

From then, the heavy rains continued at an alarming rate. Roadways, driveways and sidewalks washed away. The Sawmill Parkway soon became an extension of the Sawmill River, almost coming over the guard rails.

At 23:43, we received a call from an alarm company at 25 Old Jackson Avenue. Upon arrival we found this residence to be inaccessible due to flooding conditions by Sprain Ridge Park. Chief of Department Ron Paquette (2181) assessed the area and determined it was unreachable. He was able to make contact with both the residents and motorists who he deemed to be out of harms way at that time.

While this was going on, our individual companies and Assistant Chiefs Gunther and Lindner, were taking in the addresses who had called the police desk. Checking water levels in basement, assessing utilities, and in many cases turning them off for the safety of the house and family.

At that time, over the shared 60 control frequency, we could hear the Dobbs Ferry Fire Department out on the parkway south of Lawrence Street looking for a female motorist on the roof of her car, possibly holding onto a tree. Dobbs Ferry Assistant Chief Guilano (2093) called Assistant Chief Schnibbe (2182) on his personal phone to ask for assistance on the parkway because the shared radio was too cluttered to communicate.

Chief Schnibbe had units break away from checking houses and immediately respond to the parkway. Rescue 100, Engine 45, 2184 and 2183 proceeded to the parkway northbound in the rising waters to locate the party. Near the reported location of the trapped motorist, they came across two Dobbs Ferry police officers, Officer Dylan Luzon and Officer Andres DeJesus. With only the protection of his Chevy Suburban command vehicle, Chief Lindner and these two officers risked their own lives in the moving waters, hand in hand, to get to the trapped motorist who was clinging to a tree. It was as heroic as it gets. Hastings EMS was dispatched to meet the parties on dry land and assess. Everyone was free of the parkway and all personnel and apparatus accounted for.

The department took in over 40 calls between 2130 Wednesday and 0400 Thursday morning.

We evaluated and secured utilities in flooded basements, pumped out basements, relocated the family of a department member who’s house was compromised from rising waters, as well as 3 Mercy College students who had just started their lease in an apartment on Nepera Place. The department member and his family were relocated to Riverview Manor firehouse during the storm and another member helped him quickly find a rental in Hastings in the following days. The Mercy College students were relocated to the Doubletree in Tarrytown at 0400 by 2182.

The fire department also took in calls for downed trees and electrical wires and were limited to securing the area and moving onto the next location. On top of the water rescues Wednesday evening, we had an additional call Thursday afternoon on the Saw Mill Parkway. Later on Thursday, when the water had finally receded on Jackson Avenue, units spent four hours pumping out basements on Old Jackson Ave.

There are many other calls to go into detail about and many other personal accounts that individual members may remember more vividly. We all take great pride in our efforts and the work that we do to protect our own village.

A special thanks to all members for their efforts and seamless coordination of this historic event under such extreme circumstances. A big shout out to the Hastings Police Department for their efforts on the street during calls, as well as dispatching at police headquarters. The DPW for their non-stop job to clean up the town over the days following the storm and the Dobbs Ferry Police Department for their officers heroic acts on the Sawmill Parkway.

When all was said and done, a lot of members were wet and exhausted from the waters, some went back home to flooded houses of their own. It was no small request to do these acts away from their families and their homes, it never is. But we did it, selflessly and honorably, directly in harms way for our town.

Add a Comment Add a Comment 2 Comment(s)

Walter Stugis September 07, 2021 at 5:30 PM
Bless you all for all that you do and for who you are…The Best!! Stay safe and rest easy now if you may.

April Boone September 07, 2021 at 7:13 PM
Excellent work in a scary event . Thank you for your committed service.

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Hastings on Hudson Fire Department
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