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Combustible liquid causes flash fire, seriously injuring N.Y. instructor during live burn

A deputy chief suffered first, second and third-degree burns while setting up a shipboard fire training exercise in Nassau County

By Bill Carey

NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. — A deputy fire chief suffered severe burns at the Nassau County Fire Service Academy in Old Bethpage during live burn training.

Nassau County Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro stated that the incident occurred while the deputy chief, an instructor at the academy, was preparing a shipboard firefighting exercise, the Long Island Herald reported.

“As they were setting up to get ready for the live fire portion of that training, there were combustible liquids that were ignited, causing a flash fire,” Uttaro said. “The deputy chief instructor sustained serious burns.”

Nassau University Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Grace Ting said the instructor sustained first, second and third-degree burns to his hands, thighs and torso, and is expected to survive.

“He’s in good spirits,” Uttaro said. “He’s awake and alert and talking to people. His family and folks from the fire academy are here as well.”

The cause of the fire’s rapid ignition remains unclear and is under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office, Uttaro said.