Archived Articles


Wednesday, December 2, 2015 
ROSLYN HEIGHTS, NY, September 21, 2012 - When Joe Kasotsky Jr., joined the Roslyn Rescue Fire Company in 1962, he sought what so many other young community volunteers find attractive about the fire-service - service, brotherhood, and excitement.

But in the 50 years that have followed, Chief Kasotsky has become an icon of the all-volunteer fire company, working his way up to the top, serving twice as chief of department, a feat almost as rare these days as serving for 50 years without interruption.

On a recent late summer afternoon, the buzzer in the station sounded, the speaker squawked about a reported house fire. As the firefighters dashed to their gear lockers to get ready, a familiar question popped up. "Is Joey around today?"

As they do so often, the firefighters at Station 2 on Mineola Avenue geared-up, opened the garage door, and started the fire truck, all in time for Chief Kasotsky's seemingly omnipresent silver SUV to slip across the front driveway and into his usual parking spot with little fanfare.

Always dressed in his classic light tan boat shoes, light blue denim jeans, and flannel sport shirts, Kasotsky walked across the driveway to the waiting fire truck, and seconds later the truck was on its way to the alarm, sirens blaring.

A professional truck driver who spent his entire adult life working for the local lumberyard, Kasotsky represents what many in the fire department believe is a dying breed.

Raised in Roslyn Heights, Chief Kasotsky followed his father Joseph Sr. into the volunteer fire department, where the elder Kasotsky served for over three decades as a firefighter and department secretary.

He began driving trucks early on and in a recent interview explained how, after graduating from high school, he almost took a job driving "over-the-road trucks," industry parlance for tractor-trailer trucks which make long trips and whose drivers often live in small sleeping quarters built into the cab.

"I married relatively early and kids came soon after, so that put an end to those plans," recalled Chief Kasotsky, perched in the front seat of a Roslyn fire truck last month while returning from an alarm for a reported house fire. "I made the right choice," he added.

Working at the local lumberyard gave Kasotsky plenty of time for his family and for his other "job," that of an active volunteer firefighter. By the late 1970's, he was elected chief of department, the highest attainable rank, which he held for two years.

In November, 1993, Chief Kasotsky was again elected chief, a post he held until 1995. According to Capt. Jon Sendach, a fire department spokesperson, Chief Kasotksy held "Chief's Hours" at the department's former headquarters in the Village of Roslyn. Every weekday from the time he left the lumberyard until it was time for dinner, Chief Kasotsky held open hours in his office where any member could stop in and speak with him. As a probationary firefighter during Chief Kastosky's second term as chief in 1993, Capt. Sendach recalls fondly how deeply the chief cared about his personnel and how important it was for him to address concerns.

Department officials are also quick to point out how Chief Kasotsky was an early architect of the radio paging system, as well as the 1991 construction of the fire station on Mineola Avenue, where he has been assigned since he joined the department.

Last year, Kasotsky retired from the lumberyard in Roslyn. His experience as a professional truck driver the last 50 years has benefitted the fire department greatly. He has participated in or led almost every new fire truck acquisition committee over the last 30 years, and is very involved in training new operators.

But most importantly, say many of his fellow firefighters, fifty years after joining the fire company, the alarm sounds and about 3 minutes later, Chief Kasotsky's silver SUV rolls across the front driveway of the fire station, ready to go to the next alarm.

A Half Century of Service
Saturday, September 7, 2013 

Fire Training Made Possible by Hero
Friday, April 13, 2012 

Roslyn Rescue Remembers Allen Frye
Friday, March 30, 2012 
From Roslyn News, March 30, 2012

Fire captain served a variety of roles

Ten years to the day after a motorist traveling southbound on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale plowed through road closure barricades, and hurtled into unsuspecting firefighters, killing one of them, dozens of area firefighters crowded into the same area this past Sunday, March 25, to pay tribute to their fallen colleague.

Captain Allen Frye, of the Roslyn Rescue Fire Company, had been leading Roslyn firefighters in a training exercise, when the oncoming car struck him. He succumbed to his injuries a short time later at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.

[Firefighter Brian Baumgarten, this past Sunday at the memorial site near the Greenvale Train Station. A probationary firefighter still in high school at the time of Allen Frye’s death, he remembered “Capt. Al” as a mentor who had a profound impact on his life.]

“We are here today to remember a brother and a friend,” Chief Peter Liotta told his men, who huddled closely together around a memorial wreath and Frye’s helmet. Chief Liotta’s words were preceded by a short prayer service led by the department chaplain.

“Everyone has a story about him, and never a bad story,” Chief Liotta recounted to the group, clutching a red rose. “Not a day goes by that I don’t look at his helmet and remember his smile.”

Firefighter Brian Baumgarten was just 17 years old at the time of Capt. Frye’s death, and in his short time in the department as a probationary firefighter, had grown particularly close to him. Like many others present at this week’s memorial, he bore witness to the tragic accident and the chaotic and ultimately fruitless efforts of rescuers who were rendering aid, a scene that he says will never leave his mind.

In an interview with Newsday published around the time of the funeral in 2002, Baumgarten recounted how Frye served as a mentor and leader to him, and how his outsized physical stature stood in such contrast to his soft and warm heart.

“Captain Al is someone I still look up to, and someone I will never forget,” said Firefighter Baumgarten after paying his respects at the memorial service this week. Now a professional in the finance industry, Baumgarten remembers so many of the life lessons Frye instilled in him. “He intervened on my behalf in the firehouse and in my personal life in ways that I will never forget and I just wish that more of our current young men and women would have had the chance to know Big Al.”

Roslyn Rescue Chief Peter Liotta, left, addresses a somber crowd last Sunday at a ceremony honoring Capt. Allen Frye who was killed in the line of duty ten years ago this week. Huddled together with the Roslyn firefighters are comrades from the Sea Cliff and Glenwood Fire Companies, as well as Frye’s family.
Scores of firefighters from the Roslyn Rescue and Roslyn Highlands Fire Companies, as well as the neighboring Sea Cliff and Glenwood fire companies, were on hand to show their support. Several agencies had responded to assist Roslyn on the night that Capt. Frye was killed, and in the days that followed as the fire company prepared for the funeral arrangements. Frye’s family was also in attendance.

Fire officials said that in 1998, Capt. Frye was awarded the coveted Firefighter of the Year Award from the Fifth Battalion for his heroic efforts in pulling an elderly woman out of her burning home in Roslyn Harbor.

According to Capt. Jon Sendach, a fire department spokesman, Capt. Frye was heavily involved with community relations, organizing the annual Open House, which is timed to Fire Prevention Month in October. Capt. Frye was also responsible for the annual children’s Christmas party, and coordinated fire prevention classes at area elementary schools.

“Captain Frye was a distinguished leader and a true gentleman,” noted Capt. Sendach.

Another firefighter who suffered minor injuries in the 2002 incident has recovered and is back to full duty.

New Leadership for Roslyn Rescue
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 
December 2011 - At their annual installation dinner last month, the firefighters and emergency medical services  (EMS) responders from the Roslyn Rescue Fire Company gathered for the ceremonialswearing-in of the department’s newest slate of officers.

Peter Liotta was sworn in as the chief of department, alongside his administrative counterpart, President Chris Boffa. Liotta, who previously served as chief from late 2001 until late 2003, remarked in his address to the crowd that he was excited about another opportunity to lead this great department. Boffa had served as vice president of the company since 2008, and as a trustee for many years before that.

"Now is a really exciting time to be part of this fire company," Liotta told the packed house at Engineer’s Country Club, as he listed a number of new initiatives planned for the all-volunteer fire company in the upcoming year.

Chief Liotta replaces outgoing chief, Salvatore Mirra, Jr., who served the traditional two-year term as chief and spent over a decade as an officer of the company before being elected to the top spot in 2009. President Boffa follows outgoing president Henry Krukowski, Jr., who completed a three-year term as president but had previously served ten years in the role, as well as another dozen or so years as treasurer of the company. Both men remain active firefighters.

Numerous elected officials attended the evening affair, including Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Town Clerk, Leslie Gross. Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink conducted the swearing-in of the company officers.

The Roslyn Rescue Fire Company is one of two volunteer fire companies covering the greater Roslyn area. Together with the Roslyn Highlands Fire Company, the departments respond as the Roslyn Fire Companies to nearly 2,000 requests a year for emergency assistance, with a combined fleet of close to a dozen units, including two advanced life support ambulances.

Truck Dedication For Roslyn Rescue
Roslyn Rescue dedicated its new heavy rescue truck in honor of Ex-Chief Edward T. Sendlenski (3rd from left), who this year celebrated his 50th anniversary with the department. He is pictured here with (from L to R): President Henry Krukowski, Jr., Vice President Christopher Boffa, Chief Salvatore Mirra, Jr., Assistant Chief Peter F. Liotta, Sr., and Assistant Chief Scott Baumgarten.
   Roslyn Rescue dedicated its new heavy
      rescue truck in honor of Ex-Chief Edward
      T. Sendlenski (3rd from left), who this
      year celebrated his 50th anniversary
      with the department. He is pictured here
      with (from L to R): President Henry
      Krukowski, Jr., Vice President
      Christopher Boffa, Chief Salvatore
      Mirra, Jr., Assistant Chief Peter F.
      Liotta, Sr., and Assistant Chief Scott
Monday, October 31, 2011 
Honoring his 50 years of service as a volunteer firefighter, the Roslyn Rescue Fire Company recently dedicated their newest firetruck to Ex-Chief Edward T. Sendlenski.

Under a cloudless blue sky, scores of firefighters from Roslyn and neighboring departments gathered for the ceremonial wet-down and to honor Ex-Chief Sendlenski. After a series of short tributes by officers of the fire company, Sendlenski cracked a champagne bottle over the bumper of the new truck, and ladder trucks from neighboring departments then began dousing the new truck with water, their horns and sirens blaring in a stunning tribute to the newest addition to the fleet.

That new firetruck, a Ferrara Heavy Rescue, arrived earlier this year, and replaced a 1988 unit that was due for retirement.

A heavy rescue in fire department parlance refers to a vehicle that typically holds no water, but carries heavy-duty tools for specialized rescue, including hydraulic tools like the “Jaws of Life” and other equipment for freeing victims who are trapped in a variety of settings. Roslyn’s heavy rescue holds six firefighters, thousands of pounds of equipment, and features a telescoping light tower on its roof to illuminate emergency scenes.

“It is a true honor to dedicate this truck to someone who has spent a lifetime serving this community,” said Chief Salvatore Mirra, Jr. “We can only hope that more of our volunteers will follow Chief Sendlenski and reach the 50 year milestone.

Villages Remember the Heroes of 9-11
Friday, September 16, 2011 00:00
Wreath Laying Ceremonies at Clock Tower, Arlene Park

Written by Joe Scotchie, Roslyn News 9/16/2011

The lives of fallen heroes were very much on the minds of village residents last Sunday as the Village of East Hills held a special event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

The day was marked by both a wreath-laying ceremony and a single bagpipe player and made even more melancholy by the fact that the ceremony was held at Arlene Park in the Norgate residential area. The park is named for Arlene Fried, an East Hills resident and a victim of 9-11. The park also features a plaque honoring all the local residents who perished that day, including Thomas and Peter Langone, the Roslyn Heights brothers who served, respectively, for the New York City Police and Fire Departments and also for Roslyn Rescue Fire Department.

The two brothers received a special remembrance not only because of their special service but also by the attendance of numerous members of Roslyn Rescue and Roslyn Highlands at the ceremony. A firetruck that honors the Langone brothers was on display and their legacy was remembered by various speakers, including Jeff Kozuch, an East Hills resident and a lieutenant and 20-year veteran of the FDNY.

"[They made] the supreme sacrifice so that others could be saved," recalled Sal Mirra, Jr., chief of Roslyn Rescue.

Alan Schwalberg, an ex-chief at Roslyn Rescue eulogized Peter Langone, hailing him as a loyal son of Roslyn, who grew up in the village, attending local schools, and later, purchased a home there to raise his own family.

"He was a member of Roslyn in a way few of us will ever be," Schwalberg said. "We all are better off for his life."

Schwalberg also remembered Peter was a hardworking fireman, a teacher and a leader who loved hunting and rooting for the New York Knicks.

"He would teach you once, teach you twice, and after that, you had better get it right," Schwalberg recalled of Peter Langone's no nonsense approach to his profession.

Jon Sendach, a past president of Roslyn Rescue also remembered his friend Thomas Langone as a teacher and confidant to younger members of Roslyn Rescue.

Tommy, Sendach recalled, was especially useful to first responders, teaching them constantly to remain professional and stay calm at the scene of an accident.

Sendach also remembered a time in his own career when he was thinking of leaving Roslyn Rescue.

"Tommy convinced me not to quit," Sendach said. "He said communities like Roslyn need us."

For Sendach, the deaths of the Langone brothers only highlighted the tragic events of Sept. 11.

"It never occurred to me that they could be killed," he said. "They always seemed totally in control."

Board of East Hills Trustee Gary Leventhal is also a longtime member of Roslyn Rescue. In an emotional talk, he remembered Tommy Langone as a "good friend to everyone" and noted the plaques and tributes paid to the Langone brothers.

The East Hills resident for whom the park is named for was an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald, the firm that suffered significant losses on 9-11. Mayor Michael R. Koblenz recalled that he had done consulting work for Cantor Fitzgerald and was in the subway heading downtown when the terrorist attack took place.

Mayor Koblenz recited the names of the local residents who perished that day, while declaring the United States a "stronger nation, a more resolved nation, and a more revived nation" as a result of the terrorist attack.

Other dignitaries who attended were Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink, Town of North Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman, Town of North Hempstead Clerk Leslie Gross, plus Rabbi Ben David of Temple Sinai and Rabbi Alan Lucas of Temple Beth Sholom. All hailed the heroism displayed on that day, with Supervisor Kaiman noting that 61 victims were from the Town of North Hempstead and 300 in total from Nassau County.

Ceremony in Roslyn

On Friday, Sept. 9, the Village of Roslyn held a similar ceremony at the Ellen E. Ward Clock Tower. The ceremony was held at 9 a.m., around the same time of day that the terrorist attacks took place. As with the East Hills ceremony, the names of local victims were read as bells from the clock tower rang and moments of silence were observed.

Village Trustee Marshall Bernstein compared the attack to Pearl Harbor, while adding that the United States responded in kind to both attacks, first against the Japanese and in recent years, in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Trustee Craig Westergard’s in-laws from Normandy, France sent the following message: "Sept. 11, a time to unite and reflect. All over the world, people are commemorating this anniversary. The reactions of the Normans are very important as it is a way to remember what the Allies did in pervious wars and to thank them. This date will be engraved in our memories"

Mayor John Durkin was unable to attend 9/11 ceremony. However, he made the following statement: "As we remember and honor those who perished on 9/11, we must also remember to support their families, the survivors and our heroic first responders."

As with other speakers, Charles Berman noted the fast passage of time that has taken place since Sept. 11, 2001. In both ceremonies, the immediacy of the event made the distance of 10 years much shorter than it actually is.

Members of Roslyn Rescue and Roslyn Highlands in Arlene Park.
   Members of Roslyn Rescue and Roslyn
      Highlands in Arlene Park.
The ceremonies included the laying of a wreath in honor of the fallen.
   The ceremonies included the laying of a
      wreath in honor of the fallen.
New Equipment for Roslyn EMS
Roslyn Rescue's newest EMS Responder Unit 569 (foreground) pictured in front of its older sibling, a 2004 model. The new unit, a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe, will be based out of Station 3, on Locust Street in Greenvale.
   Roslyn Rescue's newest EMS Responder
      Unit 569 (foreground) pictured in front
      of its older sibling, a 2004 model. The
      new unit, a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe, will
      be based out of Station 3, on Locust
      Street in Greenvale.
Monday, March 15, 2010 
Reprinted with permission from The Roslyn News

When officials at the Roslyn Rescue Fire Company began planning for the start of an ambulance service in the early part of 1991, an important financial challenge was before them. An ambulance and the requisite lifesaving equipment were not in the annual budget of the all-volunteer fire company.

"We searched the used equipment dealers and found a used ambulance and cardiac monitor/defibrillator, and were fortunate to have a neighboring fire department donate some old supplies," recalled ex-Captain Frank Califano, a former commanding officer of the fire company's emergency medical service, who worked on the committee to form the service more than 15 years ago. "We wanted the community to have a fire department-based EMS program to supplement the ambulance service being provided by the Nassau County Police Department and we already had the trained personnel - we just needed the ambulance and equipment," he added.

Today, that fledgling service has grown in all directions. In the last decade, EMS personnel from Roslyn Rescue have combined forces with their firefighting partners at the Roslyn Highlands Fire Company, and personnel from both groups now man two advanced life support ambulances and four first responder units, known in fire service parlance as "fly cars" because they ferry paramedics and EMT's to the scene of medical emergencies and typically arrive in advance of the ambulance to begin provided care. Responses are up considerably since 1991, as the strain on the 911 EMS system has intensified, according to Capt. Jon Sendach, a department spokesperson.

While much has changed, the need for capital equipment and the challenges of funding it remain a constant concern for fire company administrators. Thanks to generous support from the Alvin and Dorothy Schwartz Foundation, Roslyn EMS last month took delivery of three new cardiac monitors/defibrillators, and 15 new automated external defibrillators (AED's), as well as a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe equipped as a first responder unit.

The Alvin and Dorothy Schwartz Foundation has been a longtime benefactor of Roslyn Rescue and was formed by the parents of former Roslyn Rescue emergency medical technician, Jane Stein. An earlier donation by the foundation in 2004 helped fund a replacement ambulance and cardiac monitor, and in recognition of her ongoing support to Roslyn Rescue, the department bestowed on Mrs. Stein the rank of honorary EMS chief at a dedication ceremony for the new ambulance that spring.

"This equipment is extremely advanced and will allow our paramedics and EMT's to provide the highest level of emergency care to the public," said Roslyn Rescue EMS Capt. Adam Levy, a career paramedic who currently heads the department's emergency medical service, following a recent in-service training on the new equipment. Capt. Levy pointed out that this equipment replaces cardiac monitors and defibrillators on fire trucks and ambulances, as well as other department vehicles, that were about seven years old, and that the department researched and secured favorable trade-in values on the old equipment.

The new responder unit received a warm welcome as well.

"From an operational and logistics perspective, we rely heavily on the responder units to cover a large response area," explained Lt. Sam Williams, an EMS supervisor who headed the group that specified and designed the new responder unit. "The new truck replaces one that was over 10 years old and was really getting tired," he added. The Roslyn Fire Protection District includes coverage of parts of 10 municipalities, and is among the largest such territories in Nassau County in terms of square miles covered.

Following a recent training on the new equipment with firefighters and EMS personnel, an elated Capt. Levy simply grinned. "I am really impressed with the kind of technology we are putting in the hands of our emergency responders, and we couldn't be more grateful to the Alvin and Dorothy Schwartz Foundation," he said.

Mass casualty incident
Sunday, March 7, 2010 
A mass casualty incident [MCI] occurred on the campus of C.W. Post one recent rain-misty morning. A bus rolled on its side in a campus parking lot trapping a number of students inside the vehicle as well as tossing others onto the tarmac. Fortunately, it was just a training drill where local fire departments, emergency medical services and federal and county programs responded. Additionally, one local hospital became the recipient for the injured and in that way, they too, practiced their skills and tested their disaster plan.

On November 8, 2008, area ambulances responded from C.W. Post, Roslyn Rescue, Roslyn Highlands, Port Washington, Sea Cliff and the City of Glen Cove to the Brookville campus. In addition to the emergency medical services, the Roslyn Highlands and Roslyn Rescue fire departments assisted with scene safety and extrication of victims. Also participating were members from the Nassau County Department of Health’s Medical Reserve Corps as well as volunteers from FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team [CERT]. The emergency department at North Shore-LIJ at Glen Cove was the final destination for the victims of this mock drill.

In preparation for the drill, Pierce County Day Camp donated a full-sized yellow bus which was towed to the college, in advance of the drill, and turned on its side. Immediately before the incident, CERT volunteers applied moulage [injury simulation material] to numerous C.W. Post student-volunteers as well as other volunteers. The victims were given instructions as to their roles and injuries and were strategically placed at the scene to await rescue.

First on the scene were members of C.W. Post’s public safety who sent out the MCI alarm. Roslyn Rescue arrived and set up the incident command center that organized the participants and coordinated communication between the various services. A triage team then went from victim to victim to assess each of the passenger’s injuries. Victims on the bus were extricated and all of the injured were moved to a pre-hospital treatment staging area in the parking lot. Twenty-six injured victims required immediate care and were loaded onto ambulances and transported to the emergency department of North Shore-LIJ Glen Cove for continued diagnosis and treatment. After the critically injured were transported, nine victims, with non-critical injuries, were transported by van to the hospital. The scene of the disaster was cleared of all the victims within an hour.

The purpose of the drill was to simulate a mass incident in order to practice and hone skills that are necessary in a chaotic and confusing environment. This very important mock disaster would not have been possible without volunteers who organized the event, the many student volunteers who showed up to play their roles and the volunteers from the various departments and organizations that participated during the event.
Many thanks are extended to all who participated and a special thank you to C.W. Post for hosting the drill again this year. To our role-playing victims, thanks for coming out for us instead of sleeping in…we couldn’t have done it without you!

Most of the organizations that participated in this event are staffed by volunteers and are always interested in adding to their ranks. For further information about becoming a Roslyn EMT or firefighter email and next year you too can participate in the mass casualty incident.

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