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Firefighters Face Multiple Challenges at Large House Fire in Petersburgh

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November 27, 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, NY - On November 27th at 5:21 P.M., the Petersburgh FD, along with Petersburgh Ambulance and the Grafton FD, were dispatched to 1351 State Route 2 for a reported structure fire. The caller reported that the house was on fire.

The first arriving chief immediately notified the dispatcher that he had a working structure fire and transmitted the Signal 30. The Petersburgh FD quickly answered up for the call, responding with Rescues 24 and 24-2. Firefighters responding to the scene had to deal with heavy rain and cold temperatures.

Command requested the Berlin, Hoosick, and West Hoosick Fire Departments to the scene with tankers. County coordinators and Fire Investigators were also requested to the scene. The first arriving engine on scene made their way up the driveway and began to attempt to knock down the heavy fire condition.

Firefighters at the end of the driveway set up a large portable pond and established a water supply to the scene. As firefighters were battling the fire at the top of the hill they quickly ran out of water. The nearest water supply was over 15 minutes away round-trip to the fill site, making it difficult for firefighters to keep up with the large demand of water needed to battle this fire.

Command requested additional tankers to the scene from the Pittstown and Eagle Mills Fire Departments. As heavy rain poured down on firefighters working on scene, they continued to make a push to attempt to knock down the heavy fire condition. Command requested multiple cover departments to standby in their station for the crews on scene working. Command notified all units on the fire ground that due to the heavy fire condition inside the building, no one was to make entry to the building. Firefighters continued to utilize multiple hand lines to knock down heavy fire conditions throughout the structure.

As firefighters continued to make progress, they would unfortunately run out of water on scene while waiting for tankers to arrive and drop off their water in the portable pond. As firefighters were working on the side of the home, a large portion of the building collapsed outward and the roof collapsed into the structure. As multiple tankers arrived on scene and provided a steady flow of water firefighters began to make progress and knocked down the heavy fire condition in one portion of the home. Command allowed firefighters to make entry to the home and crews began to knock down the heavy fire condition inside.

Command requested the Center Brunswick Vol. Fire Co. to the scene with their available manpower that was air pack qualified. Heavy rain and high winds began to pick up on scene and as firefighters were working in the rear of the house and on the roof area, a large bright white flash of lightning crashed off in the distance and firefighters inside of the structure made their way outside, as the bolt of lightning shook the entire fire scene. As firefighters continued to make progress, they made their way to the metal roof of the structure and began to open it up in order to vent the super-heated toxic gases and heavy fire conditions trapped inside the attic. Multiple layers of lath and plaster, and plank wood floors in the attic area on the second floor hampered firefighters, as they could not pierce through it with their hooks very easily.

Firefighters inside the home continued the extensive process of overhaul, trying to find all additional hotspots that were hidden in the voids. Fire Investigators began to conduct their investigation into the fire while crews worked inside the home. Firefighters remained on scene until the early hours of the morning the following day. The fire is under investigation at this time.

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