N.Y. FFs Battle Blaze Near LODD Site

Jun. 22--Last September, Huntington Manor firefighter Richard Holst died after having a heart attack during a predawn arson at a bagel cafe in a Huntington Station strip mall.

On Monday, a little more than nine months after Holst's death, the Huntington Manor Fire Department extinguished a fire next door to the bagel cafe.

"Being the chief in charge, it is a sad thing to stand in the same spot, working in the same location," Chief Mark Sciallo said Tuesday. "It brings back memories of the kind of person Rich was. It affects us all ... It is very heartbreaking."

Huntington Manor firefighters responded to a call at about 9:30 p.m. after a fire broke out at Mia Bella Pizza near Depot Road and East 17th Street.

The fire apparently started in a pizza oven and spread to a rear wall. The Greenlawn Fire Department assisted at the scene, with the Cold Spring Harbor Fire Department providing standby coverage for Huntington Manor. Firefighters needed about 20 minutes to get the fire under control, Sciallo said. The fire does not appear to be suspicious.

There was one injury: A firefighter had a lacerated nose.

Holst, 60, a chaplain, had a heart attack at the scene, where he was involved in fighting the September fire, Sciallo said. A committee in April voted not to include Holst's name on the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Albany.

A vote to include Holst deadlocked 5-5. His petition will be reconsidered at a future meeting.

The committee members who voted against Holst said his death didn't meet the inclusion criteria because he wasn't in the line of duty when he died. Records show other firefighters have been included on the wall after dying in accidents, of heart attacks and, in one instance, during military duty in Iraq.

Sciallo said one of his goals is to get Holst's name on the memorial.

Holst was indeed on duty the night of the fire and called in the blaze to the station, Sciallo said.