By Paul Hemmer
LIBERTY February 20, 2001 Working in bitterly cold temperatures, Liberty firefighters fought to contain two separate fires early yesterday morning.
The first call came in around 4:20 a.m. for a reported working structure fire at Sam's Service truck garage on Sullivan Avenue. The building, owned by Stanley Miller of Liberty, is situated just below his newly renovated garage and gas station on Route 52 & Sullivan Ave.
According to Liberty Chief Joe Maxwell, while responding to the call he could see that they had a working fire even before he arrived on the scene.
"I could see heavy black smoke as I came across the Quickway on Route 52," Maxwell said. "When I pulled up on the scene, smoke was just pouring out of the building."
Liberty's first-due engine arrived on the scene shortly behind Maxwell and set up for initial attack, while the second-due engine laid in a five-inch supply line from a hydrant on the corner of Route 52 and Sullivan Ave. Livingston Manor Fire Department was called to stand-by at Liberty #2 Firehouse, and the Town of Liberty Volunteer First Aid Corps stood-by in their own quarters.
According to Maxwell, two teams of firefighters advanced several lines while another team of firefighters opened the truck garage's overhead doors to allow the hose teams access to the seat of the fire.
"We had the fire knocked down in around 15 minutes," Maxwell said.
According to Chief Maxwell, the origin of the fire at Sams Service was a fuel oil delivery truck that was completely destroyed in the blaze. The truck was in the garage for repairs after being in an accident in January. The building suffered extensive heat and smoke damage, as well as some structural damage. Several other vehicles inside the building suffered varying degrees of damage as well, including several of Millers heavy-duty wreckers and a UPS delivery truck.
"The cause of the fire appears to be an electrical short in the oil trucks wiring," said Maxwell.
On the scene for nearly an hour, firefighters were starting to pick up equipment and look into the cause of the smoky blaze at Sam's when Liberty's alarm sounded again. The second call was for a reported kitchen fire at Bagels and More at the Liberty Square Mall on Mill Street at 5:18 a.m. First Assistant Chief Ben Campanaro, firefighters and an engine responded from the scene of the first fire at Sams to the second call, and within minutes, the first-due engine reported a fire in the kitchen.
"It turned out to be a gas fire in a kitchen appliance," Campanaro said. "We stretched in an inch-and-three-quarter line while firefighters went around the back of the building to shut off the gas."
According to Campanaro, the fire was quickly contained to the appliance by shutting off the gas, and the building suffered no other damages.
Firefighters were back in service around an hour and a half after the time of the first alarm, and there were no reports of injuries to firefighters or civilians at either scene. It is not known what plans Miller may have for his building at this time.