As Granville was getting out of bed wondering what damage Tropical Storm Irene and a day’s worth of torrential rains had caused, the volunteer force of first responders were starting their second day of work relating to the storm.
Over the course of an eventful 24 hours, fire fighters, EMS and crews from the village Department of Public Works and the Town Highway Department worked to keep the people of Granville safe from surging flood waters as the Mettowee River reached more than seven feet above flood stage before beginning to recede late Sunday night.
“I’ve been at it since 7:30 yesterday morning,” Village Fire Chief Ryan Pedone said just after 1 p.m. Monday.
The fire chief said he was not the only one of the first responders from around Granville who had been up for at least a day jumping from emergency to emergency as the rains continued to hammer the town. Pedone said he was not certain exactly how many volunteer fire fighters there were in Granville, “but I’ve probably seen every one of them as some point.”
While fire fighters from across the region had been manning fire stations for much of the day, fire fighters said events began to move quickly starting in the early afternoon and did not calm down until late Sunday.
Before the rains stopped emergency personnel performed three water rescues in the intersection of Route 22 and 149 and pumped out innumerable basements as well as performing evacuation duties when necessary.
A structure fire broke out on Potter Avenue just after 2 p.m.
Pedone said fire fighters were already at work pumping out basements and others were out in the village taking stock of known trouble areas for flood conditions when the call came in.
Water from the heavy rain was suspected as the cause of the fire, which was quickly put down, likely having run down the service line into the electrical panel and causing a short and then fire.
The heavy rains continued to fall further complicating things for local officials and emergency personnel.
“The river rose about six and a half feet in about 25 minutes so there was a potential of this bridge letting go, the water was to that point, so we declared a state of emergency at 7 p.m. last night basically to allow our service people fire departments and police departments to do their jobs and err in the course of public safety over anything else,” Mayor Brian LaRose said Monday.
LaRose, and town Supervisor Matt Hicks, were standing near the pedestrian walkway following its inspection by the New York State Department of Transportation.
Much of the damage was limited to the area in and around the village; as a result North Granville Fire Chief Scott McCullen said his crew spent most of their time lending a hand in mutual aid to the village fire companies.
The village chief said he was extremely proud of the effort he had seen from all of the first responders working in Granville.
“I can’t speak highly enough about these guys, they’re great guys to work for,” Pedone said.
Hicks and LaRose echoed the chief’s thoughts at the effort put forth by the volunteers. “The coordinated effort that I saw here last night with the town and village, fire departments – it was extraordinary to see. We had a basic plan, but everyone just implemented it without any doubt, without any hesitation whatsoever. I just want people to know, to recognize that it was a tremendous effort and I just can’t say enough about the help I had,” LaRose said.