Busy weekend for firefighters
A number of fires over the course of the weekend kept local volunteer firefighters busy with four calls within 48 hours.
Firefighters responded to fires at Manchester Wood on North Street Sunday evening, a garage on Mettowee Street early Saturday, Taylor Hill on Saturday evening and a brush fire in Comstock Friday afternoon.
Quick action by village fire companies contained a Mettowee Street fire that threatened several homes as it destroyed a garage before the fire could spread to surrounding structures early Saturday morning.
The fire broke out in a garage behind 84 Mettowee St. around 1 a.m., and firefighters arrived on the scene to find the structure already engulfed in flames.
“They did a good job to knock it down and keep it from spreading,” Granville Engine and Hose Co. Chief Ryan Pedone said.
Pedone said the first firefighters on the scene used large-diameter hoses to get as much water on the fire as possible given the small space behind the home of the Crouch family.
Heat from the intense fire charred nearby structures and actually melted a swing set, but firefighters were able to limit the damage to any nearby buildings. The garage is considered a total loss.
Washington County fire investigator Floyd Pratt said the fire was not considered suspicious. Pratt said the fire is believed to have started in a van, which had previous electrical issues, that was parked inside the garage.
On Saturday evening Granville Engine and Hose Co. responded to Taylor Hill for reports of an explosion and heavy smoke.
Pedone said the fire company found an attended controlled burn in a pit. As for reports of an explosion, Pedone said he saw nothing at the scene that could have caused what one neighbor reported as a shockwave that rattled the windows in his house.
The acrid smoke likely resulted from the leaves and debris being dumped on the fire, which smoldered before catching fire, he said. No evidence was found of anything that might have produced the reported explosion, he said.
Sunday evening firefighters from nine area companies were called to North Street for a fire at Manchester Wood, which caused some minor damage to the building.
Penrhyn Engine & Hose Co. Chief Milt Dunbar said the building sprinklers did their job knocking down the fire that his team was able to finish off. “It was a good stop,” Dunbar said.
On Monday morning, company officials said the furniture factory was up and running.
The fire broke out in the northwestern corner of the building around 5 p.m. in a paint room triggering a fire alarm, Dunbar said. Dunbar said most of what burned were filters from the paint room, and the flames scorched the ceiling some, he said.
Firefighters were able to enter the building and put out the fire before it did much damage, but heavy smoke filled the rear section of the building, Dunbar said. Firefighters wearing air packs went into the building to search for hot spots, but found none.
Multiple fire vehicles from several companies took up positions on both the north and south sides of the building standing by if needed.
Dunbar said it was standard practice to alert several companies in the event of a fire at an industrial site, so support came from North Granville, Granville Hook & Ladder, Granville Engine and Hose, Hartford and Hampton as well as Vermont fire companies from Wells, West Pawlet and Poultney; Whitehall stood by in station.
Pratt, the fire investigator, said the fire was not suspicious and would likely be called accidental when his investigation wrapped up.
“It was a good save,” Pratt said.
Dunbar said he appreciated the assistance from the neighboring companies, which would have been crucial had the fire been larger or spread out into the building.
As it was, the firefighters spent several hours venting smoke out of the building but just a few moments fighting the fire.
On Friday afternoon, quick action by firefighters from Fort Ann and North Granville put down a wind-driven fire threatening a row of houses near the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock.
Fort Ann Fire Chief Don Sexton said a farmer taking in hay called 911 at about 4 p.m. after one of the large round bales he just made caught fire.
The fire, whipped by gusty winds, quickly engulfed two bales and spread, scorching a portion of a field with 50 yards of Route 22 before it was put down.
North Granville Fire Chief Scott McCullen said the wind was driving flames 10 feet high across the field when fire personnel arrived at the scene. McCullen said the exceptionally dry conditions created the potential for a much larger fire without the quick response of the two companies.
Farmer Don Arno from Bull Hill Farm said he had just kicked a bale off his tractor when he realized it was on fire. Arno said he had been making the bales a little bigger to finish with the field before moving on to another and guessed too much friction built up in the exceptionally dry hay, sparking the fire. Arno said he tried to contain the fire, but the effort failed.
“I went around and broke up the wind rows, but then it jumped them so I knew I’d better call 911,” Arno said. No one was hurt in the fire; Arno declined medical attention at the scene.
North Granville Hose Co. responded with Fort Ann along with Granville and Fort Ann EMS.