By Dan Hust
LIBERTY November 28, 2006 Nearly all of the Liberty Fire Department’s active-duty volunteers 46 total descended on 40 Yaun Avenue in Liberty Sunday morning as fire engulfed a residential home.
“We had an excellent response,” said Chief Lynn Morgan. “Everybody did a really good job.”
But, he added, by the time they got there around 8:45 a.m., the home was fully involved.
“When we arrived, the flames were through the roof,” Morgan recalled. “It was that fast.”
And despite their best efforts, Elizabeth and Barry Berman’s longtime cedar home was destroyed.
The Bermans, two of Sullivan County’s most well-known and active citizens who opened their house to one and all, had to be rescued along with two other family members.
Village of Liberty police officers James Simon and Melvin Gorr were credited with finding a ladder to reach Barry and his son-in-law Jeffrey Dubnick and 4-year-old grandson Luka, trapped on a second-floor balcony.
The three and a live-in nurse, Victoria Ansah, were taken by the Town of Liberty Ambulance Corps to Catskill Regional Medical Center, where they were treated and released.
Elizabeth Berman was flown to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla for smoke inhalation, where neighbors said she’s on the mend.
Two Liberty firefighters were injured, as well: one with a sprained ankle and one with a cut hand.
Morgan said Livingston Manor and Loch Sheldrake were on standby, and Manor eventually sent several firefighters to relieve Liberty.
He said the fire is believed to be accidental in nature, starting in the kitchen, but it’s still under investigation.