Staten Island, NY- By Stephanie Slepian, Advance Staff
A Fire Department lieutenant and four firefighters were honored yesterday as Advance Firefighters of the Month for rescuing victims of carbon monoxide poisoning inside a Dongan Hills restaurant.
For Lt. Michael Hazel, 44, of Dongan Hills, and Firefighters John De Liso, 34, of Richmond; A.J. Olmstead, 30, of New Springville; Richard Grogan, 30, of Brooklyn, and David Shaw, 42, of Prince’s Bay, the incident began as a routine call.
The crew at Engine Co. 159 received an emergency call on Dec. 8 at about 5:15 p.m. reporting that a person had fainted inside Filippo’s Restaurant at 1727 Richmond Rd., which is in a strip mall just down the road from the Dongan Hills firehouse.
As they headed to the scene, they received a report that another person had fainted. When the firefighters arrived, the owner of Filippo’s told them that two of his employees had fainted in the kitchen.
Inside, Hazel’s CO meter was going off as he found four victims affected to varying degrees. The restaurant’s readings had surpassed 600 parts per million — potentially fatal levels — and were continuing to rise as Hazel assembled his team.
With the help of De Liso, Olmstead, Grogran and Shaw, the four victims were quickly pulled outside and given first aid. All were taken first to Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze, but later were transferred to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx for treatment in a hyperbaric chamber.
“In another couple of minutes, I think the outcome would have been a lot worse,” said Hazel, a 20-year Fire Department veteran.
In total, 14 people were taken to the hospital, and the six stores in the strip mall — which also includes Villa Roma Bakery & Pastry Shoppe, Modern Cleaners, Hot Chops Salon, EZ Laundromat and Dee’s Interiors Inc. — were evacuated.
The carbon monoxide leak spurred a massive response: 12 Fire Department units, a Police Department Emergency Service Unit and an EMS hazardous materials unit were on-site.
“We just did what we had to do,” Hazel said. “We just go by instinct. The guys did a great job. I am proud of them, and I am proud to be lieutenant of this company.”