I write this letter to express my gratitude.
On Monday afternoon, July 25, a lightning strike on a power line near a multi-family cooperative apartment building in Great Neck Plaza ignited a fire in the basement area in that building where its electrical equipment was located, knocking out the building’s electricity. This was a terrible event which could have quickly become tragic.
The first reason to be thankful is that no one was injured. For this, I am deeply grateful.
The second reason I am thankful is that we live in an area served by first responders and emergency workers whose skill, bravery, and dedication at times prevent terrible events from becoming tragedies. As someone who was on the scene for seven hours on July 25, I personally observed this happening that day.
The fast response of the Nassau County Police and firefighters of the Vigilant Fire Department allowed for a quick evacuation of the building and the protection of its residents from injury. The skillful actions of the firefighters of the Vigilant Fire Department led by the first commanding officer to arrive on the scene, Vigilant Chief Scott McDonald, and firefighters from Manhasset-Lakeville, Alert and other nearby fire departments, including New Hyde Park and Port Washington, quickly contained and extinguished the fire.
Officers from the Nassau County Police Arson Squad and the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s office skillfully determined that the building was safe before residents were allowed to briefly re-enter the building accompanied by firefighters in the early evening to retrieve medication, several articles of clothing and to remove their cars from the building’s garage before moving to their temporary housing accommodations for that night.
A significant response from the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross (many of whose representatives are volunteers) quickly addressed the immediate needs for food and overnight shelter of the building residents who had evacuated their homes without any advance notice. Great Neck Plaza employees from the Village’s Building, Department of Public Works and Code Enforcement departments assisted at the scene.
In addition to the efforts of all of the first responders and emergency workers, the residents of a neighboring cooperative apartment building immediately, without hesitation, welcomed the evacuees, many of whom were elderly, into the air-conditioned comfort of their building and thereby provided them respite from the extreme heat, humidity and intermittent thunder storms of that day. The administration and staff of the nearby Grand Nursing Home quickly and generously provided the evacuees with water, snacks and extra shirts.
Thank you to all those who answered the call and responded on July 25.
I firmly believe that Great Neck Plaza and all of Great Neck have been and are great places to live. The events of July 25, 2022 re-confirmed that belief to me.
Mayor, Village of Great Neck Plaza