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Heavily Involved Garage Fire In Petersburgh

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December 10, 2022 | NEW YORK JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

Petersburgh, New York - On December 10, 2022, at 10:10 PM, the Rensselaer County Emergency Communication Center took a call from 470 Rabbit College Road in Petersburgh with a 911 open line and Rensselaer County law enforcement was dispatched to the scene. As units were responding the dispatcher was taking another call from the homeowner on his cell phone and had extremely poor cell service. After making out what the individual was calling for the fire department was immediately dispatched for a structure fire.

The Petersburgh Fire Department along with Petersburgh Ambulance, Hoosick Fire Department, Berlin Fire Department, and Grafton Fire Department was dispatched for a reported garage fire. Petersburgh car one called in route to the scene. As the fire chief was responding to the scene, there was a heavy column of smoke and a bright orange glow in the clear cold night sky as the chief was responding down the road. Petersburgh car one requested from the state of Vermont the Pownal Fire Department to the scene with a tanker. The dispatcher notified the chief that they were taking multiple calls on the fire.

The chief arrived on scene and declared a signal thirty and immediately requested national grid to the scene as he had down power lines in front of the structure and the chief requested the second alarm to be transmitted. The second alarm tanker box included Pittstown Fire Department, Eagle Mills Fire Department, Stephentown Fire Department, Hoosick Fire Department, and North Hoosick Fire Department for tankers to the scene. Command immediately notified the dispatcher that he had an exposure issue and the garage was well involved and the siding on the home was beginning to melt. Command also was able to make sure everyone was out of the home. The first arriving engine on scene immediately had their crews deploy multiple hand lines. One crew deployed a hand line to the front of the home, and began to cool down the structure, preventing the fire from spreading to any other part of the home. The other crew set up in front of the garage but had a downed power line right in front of the structure which hampered suppression efforts.

Firefighters quickly began to knock down the heavy fire condition but began to run out of water on scene. As firefighters were continuing to battle the fire additional tankers began to arrive on scene. National grid notified the dispatcher that that area was not covered by them and New York State Gas And electric was notified to respond to the scene due to the imminent hazard of the downed power line and the dispatcher was notified that there was no estimated time of arrival for the power crews. As firefighters continue to work to knock down the heavy fire condition a water supply was established, and firefighters continued to tank water to the scene. Rensselaer County fire Investigators were requested to the scene.

Firefighters on scene continued to make progress and after knocking down all of the heavy fire condition and firefighters checked the house for any extension. Firefighters were forced to wait on New York State gas and electric to arrive on scene to kill power to the power line that was down in front of the residence that was hampering operations. Firefighters began to conduct overhaul of the garage and had a safety officer monitor the downed power line in front of the residence and made sure no firefighters got close to it. At the one-hour mark into the incident what was thought to be New York State Gas and Electric arriving but was only spectrum arriving to fix the broken fiber optic lines that burned off the pole.

At the two hour and fifteen-minute mark into the incident New York state gas and electric arrived on scene to secure the power lines. Firefighters continued to conduct overhaul until the early hours of the morning. Fire Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported, the garage was a total loss, and the home was saved by the quick actions of the fire department.

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