By Ted Waddell
FOSTERDALE June 7, 2005 Mary Bellock's "everything barn" is gone.
At 7:59 on Friday morning, the emergency call went out that a barn was on fire about a quarter mile west along County Route 114 from the Fosterdale four-way intersection.
But despite a rapid response by four local fire departments, the wooden structure was a pile of smoking rubble 20 minutes later.
Responding volunteer fire departments included Lake Huntington, Callicoon, Kenoza Lake and Hortonville.
On stand-by status were Protection Hose Company #1 of Jeffersonville, Lava and Equinunk (Pa.).
According to the 911 Center, all units were back in service by 12:26.
Bellock, who works in Monticello, raced home only to discover the barn reduced to a burnt-out shell, but luckily all the family's livestock escaped the blaze, except four rabbits.
"The cats didn't go in, and the horse was out," she said.
Bellock credited the volunteer firefighters with doing a "fantastic job" in responding to the fire so rapidly and "hosing down the house so we didn't lose it."
Their house is located fairly close to the barn. The vinyl siding facing the barn was severely damaged by the radiant heat from the blaze.
Jason Kraack, chief of the Lake Huntington Fire Department, estimated that about 25 local firefighters responded to the fire, adding that he rushed to the scene from Grahamsville.
Kraack said a neighbor saw smoke, and by the time he rushed inside to grab a phone and then back outside to call the Sullivan County 911 Center, "it was fully involved."
"The first-arriving guys made a pretty good stop to save the house from real major structural damage," he added, praising the quick response time of Lake Huntington truck #1 (Eric Bunch), truck #2 (Jeff Sayers) and an unidentified Liberty firefighter "who just happened to be driving by."
The fire is being investigated, but officials have tentatively labeled it accidental, with no suspicion of arson.
By trade, Darryl Emmett, 2nd Assistant Chief of the Hortonville Fire Department, is a carpenter.
On Friday morning, he found himself standing in the middle of what was left of the barn, hosing the smoking wreckage down so it wouldn't reignite.
"The volunteer fire service is really hurting for guys during the day," he lamented. "It's tough to get volunteers."
Emmett said that if it "wasn't for about five or six guys from the road department" showing up to battle the blaze, theyd have been shorthanded.
"Thank God they showed up when they did and nobody got hurt," said Bellock. "I wish the firefighters could get paid, because they certainly deserve to be paid for what they do."