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Firefighters Save Family Heirlooms from Two-Alarm Barn Fire in Valley Falls

By JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent | May 12, 2020 | NEW YORK

Story No. 052920105

Valley Falls, NY - On May 12th at 4:59 P.M., the Rensselaer County Bureau of Public Safety‘s dispatch center took multiple phone calls for a reported barn fire at 17 Bell Road in the Hoosic Valley Fire District. The caller also stated that there was an apartment above the barn, and everyone was out of the building.

Multiple fire chiefs called in while en route to the scene. The battalion one coordinator quickly arrived and had heavy fire showing from a two-story barn that had been converted into an apartment with a workshop below. Heavy fire was reported on the 'Bravo' side of the building, pushing from the oil tank room.

Hoosic Valley’s chief arrived on scene, took command and declared the Signal 30. A second-alarm was transmitted, bringing Melrose, Pleasantdale, Schaghticoke, Speigletown, Johnsonville, Buskirk, Valley Falls, Raymertown, and Hoosick Valley ambulance to the scene. Engine 19-1 and Engine-Tanker 18-6 arrived on scene and deployed multiple hand lines to the front and rear of the building.

Firefighters pulled a single hand line to the second floor apartment where firefighters were met with heavy fire pushing from the doorway. Crews began to make an aggressive push in to the heavily involved second floor, driving back the heavy fire. As firefighters were making the interior push, the driver of 18-6 deployed his deck gun in to the roof of the barn, knocking down a large amount of the fire that was running the roof line. As firefighters were starting to get a handle on the fire, both apparatus ran out of water on scene.

Command requested the Schaghticoke Fire Department to relocate to the pond down at the end of Master Street and begin to fill tankers. As additional units arrived on scene, firefighters quickly set up a fill site on Bell Road and tankers began to offload their water as quickly as they could.

With over 40 firefighters on scene and a water supply established, crews began to quickly knock down the heavy fire conditions remaining on the second floor. Firefighters started to pull down the boards on the 'Bravo' side of the barn, as it had a large amount of hidden voids that were still on fire.

The residents asked that the firefighters try to locate some precious family heirlooms that were irreplaceable on the second floor. Several firefighters quickly began to search the heavily damaged bedrooms and were successfully able to find the family's precious heirlooms along with extremely important documents.

Crews were able to bring the fire under control in about 45 minutes. The fire is currently under investigation. No firefighters were injured on scene. The barn suffered significant damage throughout from the fire.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.