Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A bit of gratuitous rubbernecking

Yesterday evening about 7 pm I just got done cleaning up my mudding tools after taping the drywall joints in the living room, when we heard the fire trucks roaring up Rt-1 one block away. And they kept coming and coming for about 15 minutes. Pretty soon we had a bit of a traffic jam on our corner as it was apparent Rt-1, the main artery for local traffic had been blocked off and they were routing all traffic through our little neighborhood. A fire pumper was set up on our street about 150 ft from our house to tap in to a hydrant and pump water 1/4 mile up to the scene thus creating an even bigger traffic jam. So after a quick bite to eat, a walk to see the action was in order.
Apparently a business building at 153 Rt-1 was on fire.
Someone said an electric extractor fan started it on the red side of the building
The boys were doing their best to knock it back, but kept losing water pressure
It was necessary to call in six other towns for help
There were four ladder trucks on the front side, and I am told there were four more out back on the other side of the building.
They had it knocked back pretty well and then it would flare up again at a different spot
A neighbor said there were printing chemicals stored in part of the building
A surveying business lost a lot of historical drawings . . . the big danger was the gas station next door
So we all hung around and had a bit of a block get-together till about 11 pm. I heard the last of the trucks leaving the scene this morning about 6 am.
In the morning sunshine it is obvious the building is a total loss
Hopefully some of the contents can be salvaged
The lower long west side of the building seem to only have sustained smoke and water damage.
Around the back side it all becomes more obvious.
Its one of those typical New England buildings where they have just kept adding on over the years.
Seems the origin of  the fire was in the back upstairs room with the double window.
 Apparently a large AC cooling tower came crashing through the ceiling when the rafters gave way. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.


  1. Replies
    1. At night in photos it does, the smoke and water spray on site was quite telling it was real. Any doubts vanish in the morning sun.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes Jaz, it is a total loss. There were about a dozen different businesses in there. It will be a while before they can get on their feet again.

  3. wow, what a drama. I also think it looks like a film set. Good thing no one was heart.

    1. Yael: Apparently there were people still in the building when the fire started around 7 pm, but they were able to get out and set off the first alarms. The newer lower west side had fire sprinklers thus it was saved. The older taller right side of the building did not have sprinklers as it is almost impossible to retrofit them without a major very expensive and intrusive remodel. These older multi-story wooden buildings are always a problem that way. It was determined that the ignition source was an electrical fault between the false ceiling on the first floor and the floor structure of the second floor.

    2. I live in fear of fire. I have cedar log buildings, with cedar shake roofs. I have woods all around my place. We have no standing fire department and I am a long way from the volunteer fire department. If this place ever goes up, it will look like Vesuvius. People will think a North Georgia Super Volcano has erupted.

    3. Harry: With wooden structures it is always a danger. Not a week goes by around here that we don't hear about one or two. Wood stoves, chimney fires and faulty electrics seem to be what set most off around here. Then there is occasional careless hippie with a candle catching the curtains on fire. The turn of the century wooden 4 and 5 story tenement building rentals in the old mil towns are the worst. Any chance of setting yourself up with a home brewed fire sprinkler system? It would not take much.

  4. WOW! That was quite a fire. Fire is interesting. It is one of the most disastrous things that can ruin things and fatal to humans. Yet, it can save live lives as well or rebuild forests. You can't live with, you can't live without it.

    1. Hi John. In the woods fire serves to renew life. Many seeds will not germinate without a good toasting. Fire contained in a wood stove is as close as I want it in my house.