Bell Hits on Day 5 for Three Probationary Firefighters, as Predicted by New Rochelle Chief at Graduation Ceremony

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — It was truly a baptism under fire today for three newly graduated New Rochelle Probationary Firefighters.

On Friday, New Rochelle Fire Chief Andrew Sandor addressed the 2021-01 graduating class of the Westchester County Career Chiefs Fire Academy.

“You want to come to work, you want to be clean and ready, The bell might hit now, five minutes from now, five hours, five days, five weeks from now, are you gonna be ready?”

On Wednesday, five days removed from that graduation ceremony — and their first day on the job — New Rochelle Probationary Firefighters Markus Perez, Anthony Spadaro, and Stephen Ceneus joined their brothers on the New Rochelle Fire Department to battle flames and heavy smoke, along with feels-like temperatures over 100 degrees.

We spoke with Stephen Ceneus over the telephone from the kitchen table at the firehouse at Station 3 at 756 North Avenue.

We asked him what it was like to hear the bell five days after graduation.

“It was extremely exciting,” said Ceneus. “I was surprised. I didn’t think it would come this soon. I was just excited that did it happen.”

“It was very similar to training but because we’re not in a controlled environment we had to move differently. We didn’t have officers going into fires with us in the Academy so this was different — it was very similar but different. I feel like I was well prepared for today’s situation .”

We asked if he shared the news with anyone, who was first call or text and what did he say.

“I haven’t had the opportunity to do that.”

Ceneus said his first calls would be to his classmates at the Fire Academy. “There’s 13 more of us that graduated last Friday’s class.”

“We could see the header of smoke from North Avenue turning into Paine,” said New Rochelle Fire Chief Andrew Sandor.

New Rochelle Firefighters were “aggressive and made a good knock down” of a structure fire in New Rochelle’s tony North End shortly late this morning.

By 11:50 a.m, with heavy smoke in the residence at 182 Lynbrook Road, fire command called a second alarm. There was heavy fire on the west side of the house on the second floor.

Firefighters had to contend with a steep Spanish-tile roof in a heat intensive environment with high temperatures and humidity.

Ladder 13 extended out over the tiles to cut vent hole in roof.

The Fire was contained to area of origin on second floor, left side of house.

The homeowner met Chief Sandor on the front lawn and reported that he and four other people who were in the house made it out safely.

There was damage on the second floor and water damage throughout the house, according to Sandor.

There were no injuries.