By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON January 14, 2005 Folks who thought the noontime whistle was unusually long Wednesday afternoon soon learned the alarm warned of tragedy.
Firefighters from Callicoon rushed out at the time when their daily bell was set to ring this time to a fire on Viaduct Road, just minutes from the firehouse.
When they got there, Chief Willy Maxwell said the house was already well involved.
It was cooking, he said.
The home of Jim Long and his son, Bryan, was almost destroyed as firefighters from Hortonville, Lake Huntington, Kenoza Lake, Hankins, North Branch and Jeffersonville converged to help the Callicoon crew fight the flames.
The fire was called in by a passerby who spotted the flames and stopped at the Delaware Valley Farm and Garden up the road to call 911, Maxwell said.
Firefighters battled the blaze into the late afternoon, but damage was extensive.
Basically the first and second floor were a total loss, Maxwell said.
No one was home when the fire started, so residents were unharmed, but the family lost a dog in the blaze.
Maxwell said the incident has been ruled accidental electrical wiring near the kitchen doorway apparently sparked the fire.
Volunteers from the Upper Delaware Ambulance Corps were on the scene to assist, along with the Sullivan County Sheriffs Department. The Equinunk Fire Department was on standby in the Callicoon Firehouse.
The firefighters made use of the North Branch Fire Departments thermal imaging camera to help douse the fire.