Like fire, like son

Dad, son battle blaze together for 1st time

ByTONY SCLAFANI and NANCY DILLON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS


A veteran firefighter and his probie son had their first close call together when they ended up battling the same fierce three-alarm blaze in the Bronx yesterday.

Lt. Al Goodenough of Engine 93 in upper Manhattan and son James, 28, of Ladder 59 in the Bronx responded to the inferno on Davidson Ave. shortly after daybreak.

As the father helped pull the hose through the single-story storefront, the son climbed up to the roof to cut ventilation holes with a saw.

"We had fire rolling over our heads. So of course I was concerned," the 48-year-old father said. "But it was a great feeling knowing we were working together. I knew I was in good hands."

James Goodenough and his fellow Bravest successfully pierced the fiery building's shell, although he did suffer three broken fingers when his right hand got jammed ripping up the vents and boards.

James Goodenough managed to scramble off the roof and seek help before inhaling too much smoke, and paramedics were wrapping his swollen mitt when he first caught sight of his dad.

The senior Goodenough, who lost 38 friends on 9/11, said he suffered a split second of paternal dread but quickly realized the injury was far from life-threatening.

"I was a little anxious, but he was standing there and he smiled and said, 'Hi, Dad, good to see you,'" the elder Goodenough recounted with a beaming grin.

"He's very protective of me," James Goodenough said of his dad after returning from Jacobi Medical Center. "It makes me feel good. I feel secure, like I can do anything."

There are an estimated 20 father-and-son duos in the Fire Department, an FDNY source said. Under FDNY policy, they cannot be assigned to the same firehouse.

Joseph Angelini and his son, Joseph Jr., both died in the World Trade Center collapse. They were the first and only father-son FDNY duo killed at the same time in the line of duty.

More than 150 firefighters in 36 units responded to the fire in University Heights yesterday. About 16 were treated for minor injuries, an FDNY source on the scene said.

Ten storefronts connected by the same roof suffered damage, the source said. The fire apparently started at Fifth Element, a beauty salon that was gutted, an official said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it does not appear suspicious, the source said.

"I cried when I saw it," said Fifth Element owner Curlene Manswell, 34, of Mount Vernon. "My whole store is burnt. Everything is gone."

Originally published on October 27, 2004

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