2015-06-03 / Front Page

Putnam Valley Heroes Save Dogs From Fire

BY ERIC GROSS


Kent Police Sgt. Michael Crawford waits for the owner of the residence to arrive with Jerry Zimbaldi and Mike Nallan while caring for the Tolf family dogs. 
Eric Gross Kent Police Sgt. Michael Crawford waits for the owner of the residence to arrive with Jerry Zimbaldi and Mike Nallan while caring for the Tolf family dogs. Eric Gross Jerry Zimbaldi and Mike Nallan of Putnam Valley are being hailed as hometown heroes after they saw smoke and flames while they were driving past a house and leapt into action: They called 911, checked the home for occupants, and rescued two dogs inside.

The events unfolded at the Tolf residence in Kent Cliffs Saturday afternoon.

Zimbaldi and Nallan had gone food shopping in Carmel and decided to take a “scenic” trip home instead of taking the more direct Peekskill Hollow Road.

As the young men were traveling along Pudding Street, a winding and narrow artery, they smelled something burning and saw smoke and flames coming from a residence.

The pair stopped and Nallan called 911 while Zimbaldi ran to the front door and began calling out: “Fire!”

No one answered so Zimbaldi opened the front door and grabbed two dogs that had become confused by the smoke. His buddy was handed one of the animals and the Good Samaritans ran outside after making sure no one was trapped inside.

Kent Police Sgt. Michael Crawford arrived within minutes and ran into the house and pulled a third dog out of the smoky interior.

Kent Cliffs FD personnel was dispatched and an engine-tanker was on the scene moments later while calls went out for mutual aid from the Carmel, Lake Carmel and Putnam Valley Fire Departments.

Crews knocked down the inferno, keeping fire damage to the right front portion of the residence although the house did suffer considerable smoke damage.

Sgt. Crawford said the situation could have been much worse had the two young men not driven by: “Pudding Street is rarely used and on a Saturday afternoon you are lucky to see a car once every half hour. Jerry and Mike are heroes for stopping and assisting.”

Zimbaldi downplayed any heroics: “The fire guys are the real heroes for putting out this fire.”

Nonetheless, the tale of the dog rescue and hometown boy heroics generated huge traffic online. At the PCNR Facebook page, photographs of the men reached more than 11,000 people, and generated 216 likes, since the news was reported Saturday.

No injuries were reported.

The fire was traced to a faulty electrical outlet on the porch.

Assisting at the scene were members of the Putnam Fire Investigation

Team, Kent Police Detective Ray Berauchesne, Kent Building Inspector William Walters, Putnam Deputy Emergency Services Coordinators Mike Hengel and Doug Casey and a representative of the Putnam Bureau of Emergency Services.

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