Two officers honored for saving Great Neck Estates couple from fire

Janelle Clausen
Nassau County PBA President James McDermott, Nassau County Police Officer Kristen Lorenzo, Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum and Village of Great Neck Estates Police Officer Sean Murtagh. (Photo courtesy of Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum's office).

The Nassau County Legislature honored two police officers who rescued an elderly couple from a March 16 house fire in Great Neck Estates on Monday.

The fire occurred on March 16 around 5:43 p.m. at a house on Bayview Avenue, police said. It began in a residential garage and then spread to the home. Nassau County Police Officer Kristen Lorenzo first spotted the smoke and discovered that the residents were still inside.

Lorenzo and Great Neck Estates Police Officer Sean Murtagh then entered the blazing home, saving the couple still inside.

“The two of them, without hesitation, went into the house and took out the two people – the elderly couple – that were in there,” said police officer James McDermott, president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association.

Lorenzo escorted the woman out, while Murtagh carried the man. The officers were treated for smoke inhalation, as were the rescued residents.

“As a resident of Great Neck, I know that the whole community saw the black flames and was in an uproar that day, and we are so thankful and grateful to the Nassau County Police and the Great Neck Estates Police for your efforts and your heroism that day,” Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum of Great Neck said.

“This was really an example of going above and beyond what you normally do, so thank you,” Birnbaum added.

Legislator Dennis Dunne, drawing on his 25 years as a firefighter, emphasized the high risk these officers took by going in without protective clothing or a self-contained breathing apparatus. He said that with how intense the flames were, the couple would’ve perished without quick action.

“It’s probably the finest act of heroism that possibly could be,” Dunne said.

Both officers, when asked if they wanted to speak before the legislature, offered a “thank you” before stepping back.

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