Posted by: Chris Kretz | August 26, 2009

Looking Back: Joe Mandanici and the Fire This Time

Monday, March 18, 1974

Firemen in the mansion on March 18, 1974

Firemen in the mansion on March 18, 1974. Photo courtesy of the West Sayville Fire Dept.

Early on a cold, dark Monday flames engulfed the Idle Hour mansion that had been the home of Dowling since 1963.  Starting in the Student Lounge and working it’s way through the Hunt Room and Ballroom , then up the grand staircase and out through the glass Conservatory, the fire left the heart of the mansion in ruins.

Oakdale native Joe Mandanici, now Dowling’s Senior Facilities Administrator, was relatively new to the West Sayville fire department that responded to the call. In this interview he deconstructs the fire for us: 40-mph winds coming off the Connetquot, trucks drawing water straight from the river, men and equipment from all neighboring fire departments converging. 

Joe also tells us more about the life of a volunteer firefighter and the men he served with back in 1974. As he explains, that fire at the mansion was just the beginning of a long day.

Fighting the fire at Dowling College March 18, 1974

Fighting the fire at Dowling College March 18, 1974. Photo courtesy of the West Sayville Fire Dept.

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Responses

  1. R Sayville Fire House – The first firehouse had been built in 1879 on Railroad Avenue, followed by one on Main Street, near Greene Avenue, in 1887; the first water mains and fire hydrants were laid in 1889. The present firehouse was opened in 1938. This property was first occupied in 1820 when Sayville’s first schoolhouse, a log cabin structure, was moved from its location near the present railroad trestle, west to the northwest corner of Montauk Highway and Lincoln Avenue. It was replaced twice on this site until schooling was moved to a new building (later known as “Old 88”) on Greene Avenue. The schoolhouse on this site became a residence which was torn down in 1937 to be replaced on the site by the new Sayville Fire House.


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