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N.Y. trooper relied on earlier firefighter training at blaze

“I reverted back to my own training days” Trooper Martin T. Derkovitz said about his actions at a Lockport fire

By Benjamin Joe
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

LOCKPORT, N.Y. — A New York State trooper credited past training as a volunteer firefighter for his and two fellow officers’ response to a Sunday afternoon fire on Royal Parkway.

A video taken of the state troopers fighting the blaze with a hose from a South Lockport Volunteer Co. fire truck has been circulating on social media since the incident. The troopers were the first to arrive on the scene.

The fire was first called to Niagara County dispatch at 2:39 p.m., according to Sheriff Mike Filicetti, who said a woman called in that a garage was on fire.

“She called again two minutes later saying a shed was now on fire,” he added.

By 2:41 p.m. South Lockport Volunteer Co. was dispatched and en route by 2:45 p.m. The fire truck and two firefighters arrived at 2:49 p.m.

Before that, however, state troopers Martin T. Derkovitz, Benjamin N. Zaccagnino and Matthew J. Wetzel had arrived at 2:44 p.m. and had saved a dog and a cage of parakeets from the adjacent home to the fire, which was also starting to burn. When the fire truck arrived, they started fighting the fire itself.

Derkovitz said he began his career as a first responder as an 18-year-old volunteer firefighter and that the training came right back.

“In the moment it just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said of his response. “I’ve been in emergency services since I was 18 years old. ... I reverted back to my own training days.”

According to Derkovitz, the breeze fueled the fire that day and had everything “happening in fast forward.”

The dispatch to first responders was also recorded by Niagara County Fire Wire, which reported that explosions and black smoke were coming from a shed where fuel and a generator was stored on the scene.

According to South Lockport Volunteer Co. public information officer, Chris McClune, garage and shed fires were always difficult because “people generally don’t keep containers of gas in their kitchen.”

A GoFundMe has been started for the owners of the home, which is now demolished. More than $10,000 has been raised. For more information visit

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