Assemblyman Zebrowski Honors Local Heroes after West Haverstraw Gas Rupture

May 15, 2012

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) announced the Assembly adopted a resolution honoring Ian Mackey, Lee Stipek, Kenneth Patterson and Gerald Knapp, the heroic men who were first to respond to the scene of the life-threatening West Haverstraw gas line leak on Jan. 16.

“The heroic actions of these brave men saved countless lives that day,” Assemblyman Zebrowski said. “They put their lives on the line without hesitation, running right into the heart of the danger to save innocent lives. For that, they deserve special recognition.”

Responding to the emergency call, Mackey and Stipek from the Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. went immediately to work shutting off the dangerous gas lines, while West Haverstraw firefighters Patterson and Knapp went door to door evacuating residents from their homes.

“I commend and thank these men for their courage and determined efforts to shut off the gas line and safely evacuate those in danger,” Assemblyman Zebrowski said. “Not only were they successful in saving lives, but they were able to prevent further potential explosions and serious injuries.”

During their efforts to evacuate a home on Zarriello Lane in West Haverstraw, Patterson and Knapp were projected almost 40 feet in the air after the home exploded, leaving them both seriously injured. The explosion also injured Mackey and Stipek, leaving all four men hospitalized.

“The gas line leak in West Haverstraw was a scary and unexpected accident,” Assemblyman Zebrowski said. “But, as a result of the terrible incident, we learned how fortunate our community is to have brave individuals protecting our families, like the men who responded to the rupture.”