Devastating Fire Brings Help


Thank you to the Port Washington Fire Department, and to the community of Port Washington. The day after Christmas, my wife collapsed on my neighbor’s lawn, and I stared in horror as fire shot out of the top of my house. My daughters broke into tears. My son stood strong for his mother, somehow a man at 15. My mind raced though unthinkable horrors that could have been, and quickly I realized that we had been blessed this Christmas. Everything I loved was alive and breathing next to me.

I became numb and watched the scene unfold before me. Firemen approached me asking if I was the homeowner, guiding me with purpose as they expertly battled the fire engulfing my house. “Is there anyone inside?” they asked. “No,” I responded. Trucks screamed up the street, lights flashing, horns blazing, firemen running in every direction with ladders and hoses. They were focused with purpose.

We had not been home, but close by with family. My neighbor had smelled smoke and called the fire department. He bravely ran over to my house with a fire extinguisher, but the fire had already built inside climbing the walls and spreading across the ceiling and super-heating gases inside the house, firemen and investigators explained to me later. The fire blew out the kitchen window, said the investigator, and climbed the side of the house. Tony Guzzello, a fireman, policeman and friend heard the call on his radio. He immediately jumped into his car arrived at my house and kicked in the front door, calling for my dog by name. Dieter was not home, another blessing.

Thanks to my neighbor, the call was made quickly triggering an unseen chain of action. The response by the Port Washington Fire Department was immediate. They arrived within minutes of the call. The brave men of the Port Washington Fire Department quickly knocked down the fire, and without question saved my neighbor’s house. The fire was so hot, it melted the siding off my neighbor’s house and incinerated a car in my driveway.

I am not a firefighter, but I have the utmost respect for each and every fireman who heard the call, put aside their personal affairs, donned their gear and risked their lives preventing a far worse disaster. Apart from their bravery, the men and women of the Port Washington Fire Department displayed kindness and compassion to my family.

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from neighbors, friends and family in Port Washington. We have received clothes for my children, food, blankets, offers of a place to stay and countless expressions of support. We can not begin to express our gratitude. We are so proud to live in such a caring community.

Thank you firefighters, friends, neighbors and family.

—Gregory and Christine Shaub


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