To the Editor:
I want to express how proud I am of our community, the various agencies and the many residents who rallied to help the families – a total of 125 people – that were recently displaced by fires at apartment complexes in East Northport and Melville.
As always, members of our volunteer fire departments responded quickly and worked tirelessly to extinguish the fires and ensure that residents were safe. In East Northport, more than 100 emergency personnel were at the scene, with the East Northport Fire Department being assisted by the Dix Hills and Greenlawn Fire Departments, the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Suffolk County Police Department’s cyanide response team. In Melville, volunteers from that department spent hours battling the blaze, assisted by the East Farmingdale, Wyandanch, Huntington, Huntington Manor, Greenlawn, Farmingdale, Syosset, Bethpage, Plainview, Deer Park and North Lindenhurst departments as well as the Huntington Community First Aid Squad and the Wyandanch-Wheatley Heights Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Following the evacuation of residents, within minutes, organizations mobilized to secure immediate shelter. They were joined over the next few days by groups providing food, clothing and emergency funds and sending school buses to bring children from their temporary residences to class and make bag lunches for them to eat.
My appreciation goes out to the Salvation Army; the Suffolk County Chapter of the American Red Cross; the Family Service League; the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island; Housing Help, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services; the Northport-East Northport School District; the many Town departments and agencies, including Human Services, the Fire Marshal and the Hispanic Task Force; and Island Christian Church, among others, which responded quickly to the call for help and who responded with various forms of supplies, food, aid and comfort.
Being forced out of your home is a traumatic experience, and these community efforts went a long way in helping to ease some of the stress experienced by our neighbors in their time of need.
These many agencies and institutions deserve public recognition and praise for bringing their best at a time when their neighbors were at their worst.
It is responses like this that reinforce Huntington’s reputation as a caring and compassionate community.