FERNDALE – A structure fire was reported to have broken out at 601 Harris Rd in the hamlet of Ferndale in the Town of Liberty early Tuesday afternoon, September 26. The Liberty Fire Department …
FERNDALE – A structure fire was reported to have broken out at 601 Harris Rd in the hamlet of Ferndale in the Town of Liberty early Tuesday afternoon, September 26. The Liberty Fire Department was dispatched to the location at 12:48 p.m. They requested mutual aid tankers from Swan Lake and White Sulphur Springs to be dispatched immediately, due to the amount of calls reporting the fire to Sullivan 911.
Upon their arrival to the scene, Liberty Fire Chief Mark Johnstone said they saw heavy smoke coming from the commercial structure. Johnstone said that the building was a clothing manufacturing business, with a lot of highly flammable product.
Upon seeing the severity of the fire, second and third alarms were requested, and Johnstone said that due to the fire’s rapid advancement and escalation, interior fire suppression could not be attempted.
“It was an all metal building,” Johnstone said, “so it was pretty much a big oven. There is also no water supply in that location, so I knew we were going to have to call in a lot of tankers.”
Mutual aid tankers from Hurleyville, Loch Sheldrake, Livingston Manor, Neversink, Youngsville, Roscoe, Rock Hill, Kauneonga Lake and two tankers from Woodridge were then reportedly requested as well as the Town of Bethel FAST team.
Johnstone said that since it was in the middle of the day, it was more difficult since people and resources weren’t available right away.
“Everybody’s gotta leave work,” he said. “You have a plan in place, but unless you can have people and resources available immediately, it’s not gonna go as planned.”
He said that there were times that they couldn’t even see each other because of how thick the smoke was.
Monticello and Rock Hill were also requested to the scene for an engine and manpower. Jeffersonville stood by at Liberty with a pumper tanker. Mobilemedic and Catskill Hatzolah supplied EMS support.
Johnstone said that the roof collapsed in on itself, and they brought in an excavator from the Town of Liberty Highway Department to assist in pulling the structure apart so that they could reach the fire under the collapsed sheet metal roof and walls. He said that it was a very difficult fire, but the main concern was making sure all the volunteer firefighters were safe.
“Thankfully, no one got hurt,” the Fire Chief said, “which we weren’t gonna let happen. We knew we weren’t gonna be able to save the building, so we shouldn’t risk anyone’s life for stuff that will just wind up in a landfill anyway.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Sullivan County Bureau of Fire and NYSP. Liberty said that the total time until back in service was 6 and a half hours.
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