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Local Firefighters Chip In to Battle Massive Brush Fires

Fire crews from the Sachem area were dispatched to blazes in the Ridge/Manorville area on Monday.

One big team effort.

That's how Mike Iannuzzi, an assistant chief with the , described the scene at the destructive brush fires out east.

That fire, which began Monday afternoon and is now "almost entirely extinguished," was tamed by firefighters from across Suffolk County, as well as several from Nassau.

"There was a good amount of fire," Iannuzzi said of arriving on the scene Monday. "By the time we got there, they had it knocked down. They were working on a couple areas that had hit a few structures."

The Ronkonkoma Fire Department sent one engine and three groups of firefighters to the brush fires, Iannuzzi said. The three groups of eight firefighters rotated out every four hours "to make sure we always have fresh guys out there," Iannuzzi said.

The Ronkonkoma crew was sent first to the Suffolk County Fire Academy in Yaphank to check-in. From there, they headed to a staging area and soon they found themselves at the rear of a barn, protecting it from any flames, Iannuzzi said.

The Ronkonkoma firefighters also staked out the corner of Oakwood Drive in Manorville to make sure no fire was through to the homes in the area, Iannuzzi said.

Iannuzzi said that while each department on the scene, including the and fire departments, had its own operating procedures, they all came together when it counted.

"Everything was good, everyone was working together," he said. "Everyone adjusts to each other. It's one big team effort."

The crews sent in Monday have returned home, Iannuzzi said, but on Tuesday afternoon, Ronkonkoma was back on the scene as it sent in a four-member fire/police unit to assist with traffic control in the area.

As officials express hope that the fires are finally under control, Iannuzzi said we aren't out of the woods just yet. 

"You never know, if the winds pick up, it could light up some small ones, spread them out a little further," he said, before adding, "The rain would help."

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