Ripping Cars Apart
Firefighters from across
LI honor memory of Chuck Varese
By Mike Koehler/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Raindrops doused firefighters working in the Pit all day Saturday,
but the rain, which ultimately gave way to the sun, chased no departments
away from the Sixth Annual Chuck Varese Extrication Tournament.
Organizer Robert Beefy Varese confirmed all 23 teams from
16 fire departments showed off their skills cutting off doors, listing
dashboards and ripping off hoods.
The Dix Hills, Melville, East Northport, Northport, Eatons Neck,
Greenlawn, Centerport, Huntington, Huntington Manor, Cold Spring Harbor
Fire Departments were all represented at Northports training facility
Each team consists of five participants, each with different roles and
responsibilities. One member handles the cutters, another handles the
spreaders, two chalk and stabilize the car and the fifth oversees safety.
Bedel Sagat, captain of Huntington Manor team II, said they practice extrication
techniques year-round with additional emphasis a month before the tournament.
Saturdays event, Sagat said, was extra experience for a department
that answers two extraction calls a week.
This is perfect real-life training for us, he said.
Beefy described the tournament as a way to build camaraderie among the
different departments, something Northport First Assistant Chief Joe Pansini
Its a lot nicer when I go to Kings Park and I know Greg by
first name, Pansini, who led the Hook & Ladder team, said.
Everybody knows somebody from all the departments around here,
Brian Keane, of Huntington Fire Department, added.
The centerpiece of the tournament is Charles Chuck Varese.
Chuck was riding his motorcycle through Centerport five years ago when
a driver high on drugs crashed into him and killed him.
The Northport Fire Department had been talking about creating an extrication
tournament before his death, but Beefy successfully championed the cause
to have the new event in memory of his son.
It gave it its own existence. It gave me a purpose to do this,
the former Northport chief said.
Sagat said Manor participates because its a good cause,
in reference to Chuck.
The captains Manor II team did reach the semifinals on Saturday,
but was knocked out by East Northport. However, East Northport then left
for other obligations, winning third overall but missing a shot at first.
Huntington Manor I finished ripping all four doors, lifting the dash and
tearing the hood off their car in 1138. Pansinis Northport
team finished in 1005 to bring the first-place trophy back
to the host fire department.
All junk cars used in the competition were donated by Gershow Recycling,
while Beefy and a team of almost two dozen Northport Fire Department volunteers
prepared the training facility and fairgrounds for the tournament.