A blaring fire alarm on Nov. 13 caused the evacuation of a number of residents from The Amsterdam at Harborside, a retirement community which has approximately 280 residents. According to a statement from Harborside, the alarm, which sounded at the Continuing Care Retirement Community, was activated by smoke in a resident’s apartment.
Harborside said that in addition to the alarm, an internal sprinkler system was activated and the staff responded to the scene, temporarily evacuating residents on two floors of the facility. The statement went on to say that affected residents were taken to an area hospital for evaluation and were subsequently released.
“No one was injured and no one else was taken to the hospital during this incident. As of 7 p.m., Amsterdam at Harborside residents are at dinner and have resumed their normal activities,” the facility said in its statement. “The leadership, staff and residents of the Amsterdam at Harborside are grateful for the rapid and professional response of local first responders.”
But in Harborside’s statement that the Nassau County Fire Marshall is “investigating the cause of the smoke,” Port Washington Fire Department (PWFD) Chief Brain Vogeley feels the retirement community’s officials are not telling the whole truth.
“I understand that the only information that was given to you was from the Amsterdam,” said Vogeley in an emailed statement to the Port Washington News. “We do not understand why they refuse to give the actual truth, but I feel it would be unjust to not give the facts. If you refer to the Facebook page of the Port Washington [Fire Department] you will see the actual account. There was an actual fire on the sixth floor in an apartment. Eleven fire departments along with many other agencies responded to the fire to help the PWFD. The fire was extinguished by fire department personnel while evacuating the entire sixth floor and part of the fifth.
As chief of the PWFD, I feel I would not be doing my job if I did not provide the entire story as these volunteers put their lives on the line to protect this great community and deserve the recognition.”
Following is the Port Washington Fire Department’s full account from Facebook of what occurred at Harborside on Nov. 13:
A fire broke out in a sixth floor apartment at the Amsterdam building at 300 East Overlook. The Port Washington Fire Department was notified for an automatic waterflow alarm at 4:19 p.m.
Assistant Chief Thomas Golden and Fire Prevention Officer Patrick Saccoccia were the first units on scene. They were met by building maintenance personnel who stated there was smoke condition and possible fire on the sixth floor. Units made their way to the sixth floor and found fire in one apartment. Residents were evacuated from the sixth floor of the complex. The fire was extinguished and one person was transported to a local hospital.
Multiple Port Washington units responded along with mutual aid units from Roslyn Highlands Volunteer Fire Co., Glenwood H and L, E and H, Co., Inc., Manhasset-Lakeville Volunteer Fire Department, Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company, Williston Park Fire Department, Sea Cliff F.D. Engine & Hose Company, Garden City Park Fire Department, Port Washington Police, Nassau County Police, Nassau County Emergency Ambulance Bureau and Nassau County OEM responded to the scene. Mutual aid from Plandome Fire Department, Albertson Fire Company, New Hyde Park Fire Department and East Norwich Fire Department covered the district during the fire and responded to two calls.
The fire is currently under the investigation by the Nassau County Fire Marshals office. All operations were under the direction of Bryan Vogeley, chief of the Port Washington Fire Department.