On November 26, 1988, at 10:22 am the audible horns in Port Washington will go off to mark a moment of silence for Captain Robert H. Dayton of Flower Hill Hose Co. #1 of the Port Washington Fire Department.
25 years ago, today, while commanding a search and rescue team at an apartment fire on Main Street, he became trapped and ran out of air. Due to the intense heat and smoke, repeated efforts to rescue Lieutenant Dayton were unsuccessful. He was later pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital. The Nassau County Police Homocide Squad and Fire Marshall’s Office later ruled the cause of the fire to be arson.
Lieutenant Dayton attended Schreiber High School and later studied computers at Nassau Community College. He joined Flower Hill Hose Co. #1 at 18 years old. In addition to serving as a volunteer in Port Washington, he was also a professional firefighter with the Fire Department, City of New York, assigned to Engine Company 287 in Elmhurst, Queens. He was posthumously promoted to Captain of Flower Hill Hose Company #1.
The Port Washington Fire Department continues to mourn the loss of Captain Dayton. In 2010 the Town of North Hempstead renamed Haven Avenue, where Flower Hill Hose Co. #1 is located, Captain Robert H. Dayton Way.
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Port Washington Patch – March 3, 2010
A Flag Waves at Weber In Tribute to a Hero
Port Washington News – June 1, 1989
Port Fire Department Thanks Community
Port Washington News – December 15, 1988
Fireman’s Death Caused by Arson
Port Washington News – December 8, 1988
Main Street Blaze Ends In Tragedy
Port Washington News – December 1, 1988
L.I. Fire Company Mourns Its First Loss in Action in 40 Year
New York Times – November 28, 1988
When the Fire Closed In
Newsday – November 28, 1988
Firefighter Dies in Blaze
Newsday – November 27, 1988
A Queens Firefighter Dies Fighting L.I. Fire
New York Times – November 27, 1988