Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Firefighters in Farmingdale and Gardiner stopped two fires Thursday before they could cause significant damage to surrounding structures.
IMMOBILE: Richard Hutchings, right, assesses the smoldering frame of his recreational vehicle Thursday with Gardiner Fire Chief Mike Minkowsky after a blaze outside Hutchings' Gardiner home destroyed the vehicle. No injuries were reported, according to firefighters.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy
KNOCK DOWN: Farmingdale firefighter Julian Beale extinguishes a hot spot Thursday on a barn that caught fire at a Farmingdale residence when a heat lamp, at right, erupted. No injuries were reported, according to firefighters.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy
"The guys are kind of beat up right now," said Gardiner Fire Chief Mike Minkowsky as the firefighters, dripping with sweat and water, picked up equipment after responding to their second blaze in three hours.
Firefighters were called to the first fire, inside a garage at 477 Litchfield Road in Farmingdale, at 10:30 a.m.
Capt. William Ebert said a heat lamp keeping a duck warm inside a garage ignited loose hay around the cage. The fire threatened to destroy the garage and an attached house.
"We knocked it down real quick," Ebert said. "We saved the duck."
Ebert said a Farmingdale truck arrived at the fire with just two men on board. Gardiner firefighters, who arrived moments later, helped drag out the hoses and began dumping water on the flames, Ebert said.
Fighters from West Gardiner, Randolph, Pittston and Hallowell also responded.
The quick work confined damage to a 10-square-foot area, Ebert said. He estimated the total loss was less than $100.
Many of the same firefighters were called out a few hours later when a motor home caught fire and briefly spread to a nearby workshop. The fire at 12 Justa Way, off Marston Road, broke out around 1:30 p.m. The 34-foot Pinnacle motor home, owned by Richard Hutchings, was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Minkowsky said. Flames had spread to Hutchings nearby workshop.
A black plume of smoke was visible from several miles away, according to witnesses.
Arriving firefighters went to work to save the building. The fire melted a section of vinyl siding and charred the particle board underneath, but all of the damage was limited to the outside, Minkowsky said. He estimated the fire caused about $5,000 in damage to the building.
Firefighters from Farmingdale and Pittston assisted Gardiner in dousing the fire.
"It was a really good knockdown," Minkowsky said. "The guys did an excellent job."
The motor home was destroyed. Minkowsky isn't sure how the fire started but said it might have been an electrical malfunction.
Hutchings said he started the motor home a few minutes before the fire to warm it up before moving it to its regular parking spot beneath an overhang attached to the shop.
"I always let it warm up before I move it," Hutchings said.
He said he had recently put in about $3,000 in upgrades. The work ranged from new tires to a new wood floor, a flat-screen television and new refrigerator.
Hutchings said the motor home is insured, but he didn't know if there was enough to replace the vehicle.
"It purred like a kitten," he said.