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Crews Face Extreme Challenges at Commercial Structure Fire in Brunswick

By JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent | September 09, 2021 | NEW YORK

Story No. 092721113

BRUNSWICK, NY - On September 9th at 5:38 P.M., an off duty City of Troy Battalion Chief was driving when he noticed smoke pushing from a commercial garage at 825 Hoosick Road. He notified the dispatcher that he had a working structure fire in the Brunswick No.1 Fire District, and the dispatcher toned out Brunswick No.1, Mountain View for the FAST team, Wynantskill, Melrose, Pittstown, Speigletown, Raymertown, Center Brunswick and Eagle Mills for a working structure fire.

Brunswick No.1 Car 2 arrived on scene and declared the Signal 30, as well as the second-alarm, for a working structure fire. Truck 4 arrived and laid in from the fire hydrant to the scene as crews deployed a hand line to the front door of the building. The next arriving engine laid in from another fire hydrant and established an additional water supply on scene. Engine Ladder 35 also arrived and set up in the rear of the building.

Firefighters made entry to the building as thick brownish smoke pushed from the front door. Once inside the structure, a heavy smoke condition was discovered banking down to about one-foot off the floor. As a significant amount of heat pushed down on firefighters as they made their way deeper into the structure, thick heavy black smoke began to push from the attic vent. Crews then began to cut a vent hole in the building over the suspected main fire area.

Command learned that the building was being used to hold seasonal items, and pallets of wood pellets, and that it was a small engine repair shop with a significant amount of flammable items.

As firefighters began to spray water in an area where they believed the seat of the fire was, command ordered all units to evacuate the building as the smoke condition inside began to rapidly change from thick gray to a turbulent heavy black and brown smoke.

Crews made their way out of the structure as heavy fire pushed from the attic vent hole on the 'Delta' side. Firefighters quickly began to use hand lines from the exterior of the structure to knock down the heavy fire condition from the attic area, and after gaining temporary control of the building, crews made entry again. As they pushed towards the seat of the fire, the significant fuel load inside of the building reignited and blew through the center of the building. Command then requested the building to be evacuated again.

As heavy fire blew 60-feet into the afternoon sky that could be seen from miles away, both truck companies opened up their master streams and began to knock down the heavy fire condition at which time the roof over the main building collapsed inside of the structure. A significant amount of fuel was found floating in the water coming from the building, and that water was pooling in front of the structure.

Command noticed that the water supply on scene was not adequate for the situation at hand so a second-alarm tanker assignment was requested, which included Eagle Mills, Pleasantdale, Raymertown, Poestenkill, Pittstown, Defreestville, Melrose and additional FAST teams from the Defreestville Fire Department to the scene. Command also requested the Rensselaer County Decontamination Team to the scene and placed additional fire apparatus from Battalion 1 on standby.

Firefighters began to gain control of the fire as night fell but were faced with extensive overhaul of the fire building, as remaining sections of the building that had collapsed had heavy fire underneath the debris. Fire investigators arrived on scene and began to conduct their investigation into the incident.

As they finished up, firefighters had to be decontaminated due to the fuel coming from the building. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives arrived on scene and offered additional assistance to the fire department.

No firefighters were injured on scene. The building was a complete loss. The fire, which presented extreme challenges to the departments on scene due to the significant fire load inside of the structure and all of the added fuels, is under investigation at this time.

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