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Power Lines Fall on Truck Company on Scene of Working Fire in Selkirk

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March 09, 2023 | 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.

SELKIRK, NY - On March 9th, the Selkirk Fire Department, with mutual aid from the Elsmere Fire Department and Town of Bethlehem FAST Team, was dispatched to 147 Rerick Road for a reported structure fire. The caller reported that the back of the neighbor's house was on fire, and the neighbor was attempting to make entry to the home to rescue their cat.

The first arriving chief on scene had a heavy smoke condition pushing from the front of the structure and a heavy fire condition in the rear of the structure. Command transmitted the Signal 30 for a working structure fire. The first arriving engine on scene, with limited manpower, began deploying a two-and-a-half inch hand line to the 'Delta' side of the structure.

Firefighters immediately began conducting suppression efforts from the exterior portion of the structure. As the truck company arrived on scene and began to set up in front of the building, firefighters were deploying another hand line to the front of the structure. A power line broke free from the home from the heavy fire, pushing from the front of the structure, and quickly blew back towards the truck company and fell on top of it, trapping the driver inside of the vehicle and preventing firefighters on scene from utilizing the truck company.

Fire apparatus began arriving on scene along with mutual aid from Onesquethaw Fire Department, Coeymans Fire Department, Coeymans Hollow Fire Department, Bethlehem Emergency Medical Services, and an Albany County Paramedic. With very limited water supply on scene, and the road snarled up with apparatus with no way for the apparatus to turn around, firefighters utilized a nearby creek with portable pumps to supply the fire scene with water. Firefighters placed cones around the downed power line and continued to make a defensive attack on the structure. Command notified the dispatcher to cancel the FAST team coming to the scene, as they were not needed.

As crews continued to work at gaining access inside the structure, firefighters used a vent saw to cut the window frames out of the structure to gain access to areas inside of the building. Command deemed it a "no entry" building due to the significant fire load. Firefighters were able to quickly bring a large amount of the fire under control after about 30 minutes and continued to conduct overhaul for an extended period of time. National Grid arrived and shut down the power about one hour into the fire. The driver trapped inside of the ladder truck was uninjured.

Command brought in an excavator to lift up the metal roof on the structure, as they still had a significant amount of smoke coming from underneath the metal. Firefighters utilized a hand line once the excavator arrived on scene to knock down any of the remaining hotspots. The Bethlehem Police Department is investigating the fire. It is unclear at this time if the cats inside the structure made it out safely. No firefighters were injured on scene.

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