The blizzard didn't stop emergency workers from responding to calls, including volunteers in the fire departments and ambulance agencies throughout the South Fork.
Since 4 p.m. on Monday, there were 12 chiefs' investigations for alarms going off, and three calls for emergency medical services in the Town of East Hampton, which includes Sag Harbor. The Bridgehampton Fire Department, whose coverage area extends from Wainscott to Water Mill, had six chiefs' investigations and two E.M.S. calls.
In Springs, E.M.T.s responded to two serious calls within about two and a half hours on Monday evening, starting with a chest pains call at 6:45 p.m. and a call for a woman in active labor at about 9:30 p.m. The child wasn't born inside the house or on the way to the hospital, but it was close. At that time, the roads were slick, but still in good shape, Fire Chief David King said. "Had it been 4 o'clock in the morning that would have been a problem," he said.
Several firefighters found themselves traveling in crippling conditions early morning hours on Tuesday. Gas detector and carbon monoxide alarms went off in four houses in Bridgehampton's fire district between 3:30 and 5 a.m., and chiefs and captains responding had a difficult time even getting close to the houses.
While the houses were mostly unoccupied, Chief Gary Horsburgh said the alarms went off due to low-lying gas vents being covered by the snow. "Keep your vents clear," he warned.
Just before 9 a.m., a family called the fire department to Norris Lane in Bridgehampton for the smell of gas. Because of high carbon monoxide readings, the family was taken to Southampton Hospital, where at least one person was treated. The call took emergency personnel more than two and a half hours because of the road conditions.
"It's really difficult to move around; it's almost impossible," Chief King said from Springs. "I worry about the guys going across Sagaponack with the open fields and whatnot," he said. "It's going to be just as bad tonight."
East Hampton Village Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack said the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association, of which she is a longtime member, had a crew staying at the firehouse to answer calls, though there were none overnight. "I am always impressed by the people who are willing to spend the night at the firehouse — firefighters, E.M.T.s, Highway Department men, police and dispatchers, those handling the Emergency Operations Center. They are up all night, grabbing breaks when they can for coffee and snacks so that our citizens can sleep soundly at home in their beds, safe and warm," Mrs. Borsack said. "It is a breed apart and they are very special."
In Montauk, where winds were 40 to 50 miles per hour, firefighters also investigated four alarms. Chief Joe Lenahan reported it was also "hard to get to the houses off the grid."
East Hampton Town police are also still responding to calls, but officers are staying safe by standing by at the firehouse and precincts between calls, Chief Michael Sarlo said.