Monday, April 28, 2014
Rockland Journal NewsMONTEBELLO An unoccupied Montebello Road house was the center of an arson investigation Monday after a fire severely damaged three floors of the structure.No injuries were reported in the blaze at 101 Montebello Road that started in the basement shortly before 9 p.m. and spread to the upper floors.About 75 firefighters from the Tallman, Suffern, Sloatsburg, Monsey, Hillcrest and Mahwah, N.J. fire departments responded to the scene, extinguishing the flames in about 20 minutes, said George Drescher, a Rockland County deputy fire coordinator."A heavy fire was in the basement," Drescher said. "The crews made an initial attack there. We now have that fire under control in the basement and are checking for extension."Though believed to have begun in the basement, the flames spread quickly through the wood-framed, balloon construction home, eventually damaging nearly all of the 2 1/2-story house.What sparked the fire was not immediately clear. Drescher said Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. had confirmed that both gas and electric service to the house had previously been shut off.Officials believed the fire may possibly have had multiple points of origin in the basement and on the first floor — where the flames were heaviest — but Drescher said further investigation would be needed to confirm that fact. The village fire inspector and the Rockland County Sheriff's Bureau of Criminal Investigations would be probing the blaze, he said.In addition to the fire departments, Ramapo police and the Ramapo Valley Ambulance Corps responded to the scene.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Rockland Journal NewsSUFFERN – A car fire spread quickly Thursday, growing into a wind-swept blaze that destroyed much of one East Maltbie Avenue home and damaged parts of another.Police responded to 52 E. Maltbie Ave. shortly before 7 p.m. to find a car engulfed in flames, Village Police Chief Clarke Osborn said."At that point, we made sure that all the occupants were out of the home, which they were already," Osborn said. "We then assisted with traffic control for the fire department."In addition to the four people who escaped the home were about four dogs, Osborn said. Neither the people nor the animals suffered injuries.Firefighters battled a car fire that spread quickly Thursday, April 24, 2014, affecting two homes and a detached garage.(Photo: James O’Rourke/The Journal News)Suffern Fire Chief Michael Stark said the car fire spread to a detached garage between two houses at 50 and 52 E. Maltbie Ave. before spreading to the homes themselves. The house at 50 E. Maltbie sustained minor damage while the other home was heavily damaged by fire, smoke and water, he said."There was some extension to number 50, which was contained to the outside of the house," Stark said. "As you can see, number 52 had a lot of fire on all three floors. It's balloon construction so the fire got in through the outside and traveled right through to the attic."Osborn said the flames were visible for miles and drove people to report the incident to authorities — including one person who called 911 after seeing smoke and flames from neighboring Mahwah, N.J. Many onlookers stood on the residential street during much of the emergency response.In addition to the construction of the home, which allowed the fire to spread quickly and burn intensely, Stark said heavy winds helped fan the flames."I was at the Department of Public Works getting gas when the call came in ... and when I heard the address, I looked this way and I knew that it wasn't a car fire just by the smoke," he said.Suffern firefighters were aided by the Tallman, Hillburn, Sloatsburg, Monsey and Mahwah fire departments. The Nanuet, Nyack and Hillcrest departments were held on standby. Osborn said the fire was placed under control by about 9:45 p.m.Stark said one Suffern firefighter was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital with a minor knee injury.The cause of the fire was not yet certain Thursday. The Rockland County Sheriff's Bureau of Criminal Investigations also was on the scene.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
April 21, 2014Tallman Firefighters responded to a brush fire off Route 202, near Mayer Drive. The fire was burning behind houses that backed up to the mountain, making access difficult. It took several hours to bring the fire under controlFirefighters from Suffern, Mahwah NJ, Spring Valley, and Hillcrest responded to assist Tallman Fire Fighters.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Rockland Journal NewsA fast-moving fire gutted a Judaica dealer’s home Tuesday, but the family got out safely.Eighty-five firefighters from eight departments battled the blaze at 35 Dolson Road, the home of Daniel Dymchitz.“Thank God no one was injured,” said Dymchitz’s son, Moshe, 21, a religious student who lives nearby, speaking above the din of fire engines. “It’s only property. Property you can get back.”The fire was reported before 11:30 a.m. Five people — Dymchitz’s mother, his wife, the couple’s 7-month-old and 4-year-old sons and a housekeeper — were home at the time. They got out safely, said Chris Kear, Rockland County’s deputy fire coordinator.Firefighters arrived to flames pouring from a second-story bedroom. The fire spread to the attic, then consumed the entire stone and stucco house, which was built in 2008 and is more than 5,600 square feet, according to online property records.“It overtook the house,” Kear said.In addition to the flames and heavy plumes of smoke, firefighters also had to deal with temperatures that hovered around 10 degrees.“The majority of the firemen are wet,” Kear said. “Their gear is frozen. Their helmets are frozen. Water hits anything today it’s immediately freezing on contact.”Firefighters worked in shifts in the arctic air, warming themselves in a van, while Ramapo road crews hit the ice-slicked road with salt. Firefighters remained on scene through 4 p.m., dousing hot spots and picking through the smoldering remains.In addition to Tallman, crews responded from Hillcrest, Monsey, Nanuet, Sloatsburg, Spring Valley, Suffern and Mahwah, N.J.The Ramapo fire inspector and Rockland County Arson Unit will try to determine the cause of the blaze, which is believed to be accidental. The Dymchitz family took shelter in a home across the street.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Nyack Free PressFirefighters Get Creative to Battle Smoky New Year's FireFan boat used to rid warehouse of thick smokeMONTEBELLO - Rockland County volunteer firefighters didn't have to wait long to get their first fire of 2014.A fire involving a piece of floor cleaning equipment at Manhattan Beer Distributors at 10 Dunnigan Drive - between the New York State Thruway and Route 59 near Airmont Road - filled portions of the company's recycling warehouse with thick smoke at about 12:30 a.m. While the fire did not do much damage, fire officials said they had to get creative to get all the smoke out of the building.Tallman Fire Chief Chris Szklany said a brainstorm by Mahwah, NJ, firefighters made their job easier. Instead of using the normal heavy-duty fire department fans to pull smoke out of the building, Mahwah brought its fan boat to Montebello. The fan boat was placed inside a loading bay at Manhattan Beer Distributors, and the boat's giant fan quickly cleared the warehouse.The fan boat is used by Mahwah for emergency operations along the Ramapo and Mahwah rivers and is a key tool for coping with frequent flooding in that community just south of Rockland County in New Jersey. Szklany said the Mahwah fire chief offered to bring the boat to Montebello, and Szklany said he jumped at the chance of speeding up operations at the warehouse.The fire was the first call of the new year in Rockland County. Because of the timing during a holiday, Szklany said volunteer manpower was a issue for his department. Volunteers from Suffern, Monsey and Mahwah were called to assist with equipment and manpower for the incident.At first, Szklany said, volunteer firefighters did not see a fire at the warehouse building. But as firefighters checked the building, Szklany said firefighters discovered that a piece of floor cleaning equipment had caught fire and had created extensive smoke.Szklany noted that the building's fire sprinkler system had kept the fire from spreading and volunteer firefighters were quickly able to put out the fire. The building involved is used for recycling, Szklany said, and did not affect areas where Manhattan Beer Distributors has its products.No one was injured and the warehouse was closed at the time of the fire. Firefighters finished their operations at the warehouse at about 3 a.m.Manhattan Beer Distributors operates in the metro-New York area, with facilities in Rockland, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and on Long Island. Started in Manhattan as a small distributor in the 1970s, the company is today among the largest beer distributors in the country.
Friday, November 1, 2013
CLIFFVIEW PILOT.COM: A massive fire at the home of Oakland contractor Ben Perry quickly went to six alarms early this afternoon as firefighters battled water problems.Several firefighters were reported injured at the 3½-story, wood-frame home off Skyline Drive, mostly from exhaustion and smoke inhalation.Googlemaps“It was a total loss,” one emergency worker toldCLIFFVIEW PILOT.No one was home when the blaze broke out around noon.However, an emergency services official toldCLIFFVIEW PILOT that a dog was killed and another rescued from the nearly 5,000-square-foot home on nearly two acres of property set back from the tree-lined roadway in the woods near Route 287, after efforts were made to resuscitate both.The one who survived was rushed to Oakland Animal Hospital.Firefighters at first stretched a hose a great distance to the scene, but it broke, requiring a new length. Then the hydrant it was hooked to had no pressure, one emergency worker said.Fully engulfedAnother line was run from a closer hydrant, he said.As a result, two tankers from Mahwah, one from Ringwood and one from Franklin Lakes supplied water shuttled from area lakes, with at least one more expected from Rockland County.A Hawthorne cascade truck also responded, along with five BLS units and fire companies from as far as Hillsdale and Fair Lawn, along with Ho-Ho-Kus, Mahwah, Pompton Lakes, Ramsey, Ringwood, Saddle River and Waldwick.Oakland officials said companies from 17 municipalities in all assisted.Firefighters later filled the structure with high-expansion foam after weight-bearing walls began to sag.Nearby residents were evacuated and all surrounding roads closed, as was the Skyline Drive exit (#57) off 287. The results have included mounting congestion on Ringwood Avenue.Perry, who lives with his wife and children, built the house in 2004 and has used it for his business, records show
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Rockland Journal NewsRAMAPO — Two state legislators from Rockland said Wednesday they will urge the governor to reject their bill offering a retroactive tax exemption to a congregation that illegally converted a single-family house into a school on Highview Road.Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern, and state Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City, said they backed off support for the 2011 exemption for the Talmud Torah Ohr Yochanan because it had zoning violations and no certificate of occupancy. Jaffee also said there were other issues. The students are being taught in the four-bedroom house, including on the second floor in violation of zoning, and in two classroom trailers.The Assembly and Senate approved the bill for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.The lawmakers said the tax exemption requests are reviewed and considered routine.“The more I’ve learned about what’s going on I was quite shocked and uncomfortable by the situation,” Jaffee said. “I asked that the bill be held until I am able to get further information.”Calling it a “breach of trust,” Carlucci said the town issued incomplete information on the status of the school. Jaffee said the Assembly Real Property Tax Committee had reviewed and recommended the request based upon the documentation provided by the town.“Until we have complete confidence there are no violations on any of the buildings, we are recommending the governor veto the bill we proposed,” Carlucci said.An exemption for 2011 would have saved the congregation close to $19,000 for the school, and $11,000 on the caretaker’s house.The school’s neighbors, Bob and Annette Doerr, wrote Cuomo last week asking him to not sign the tax exemption. They argued the school was started illegally in October 2009 without any town approvals and still lacks a certificate of occupancy and approved site plans.The Doerrs told the governor that signing the exemption would be “rewarding an organization that has knowingly and repeatedly failed to abide by the laws of the state.”Page
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
RAMAPO — Three helicopters dumped hundreds of gallons of lake water on a brush fire that had spread across an estimated 85 acres in a hilly, wooded area off Torne Valley Road in the western section of town by Tuesday afternoon.More than 130 firefighters from seven Rockland departments and others from the region fought the flames on the ground as the fire spread into county and Palisades Interstate Park land, authorities said. No injuries were reported and no homes were threatened.Early in the afternoon, officials said the fire could potentially burn for days. By nightfall, however, firefighters had extinguished an estimated 85 to 90 percent of the flames, said Pete Byrne, a deputy coordinator for Rockland Fire and Emergency Services.Byrne said battling the remainder of the blaze will likely be left to the New York state park rangers Wednesday.“Park rangers will stay overnight to monitor the fire and tomorrow morning, the situation will assessed,” Byrne said Tuesday night, adding that firefighters will be available to return to the area if needed.Officials said the location of the fire amid the rocky and steep terrain was a major problem for the ground assault by volunteers, which lasted throughout the day until about 4:30 p.m.Hoses couldn’t reach the remote area, so firefighters used hand tools to contain the blaze. Smoke could be smelled as far south as Exit 14 on the New York State Thruway in Airmont.Firefighters received air support from helicopters out of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and one from Westchester County.The helicopters are equipped with larger buckets that can hold 100 to 150 gallons of water, Byrne said. The pilots were filling up from Pine Meadow Lake in the park region and continuously dropped water of the fire until about 6 p.m.The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Firefighters are working with Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. and its parent company, Consolidated Edison, since the fire apparently started near the utility’s substation.Rockland Journal NewsPage
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Journal NewsRAMAPO — Firefighters battled a blaze at a house that is part of what authorities have called an illegally converted yeshiva complex.A 13-year-old girl suffered smoke inhalation from the fire, which appeared to have started in a second floor bedroom of an administration building at the 95-97 Highview Road complex belonging to Talmud Torah Ohr Yochanan.The girl and two dogs were the structure’s only occupants when the blaze was reported shortly after 2 p.m., police said. The child was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern.A single family home at that address was illegally converted to a boy’s school four years ago.Annette Doerr, who along with her husband, Bob, have been urging the town to take action since the day in October 2009 when school buses first arrived at the house next door, called the fire “a nightmare.”More than 100 young boys were standing on the lawn of the house being used as a school before firefighters arrived.“I screamed at them to get away,” she said. “I took them onto my lawn.”The burning structure is very close to classroom trailers located on the property, she noted.The town of Ramapo took Talmud Torah Ohr Yochanan to state Supreme Court to force installation of fire-safety devices and ensure the congregation obtain site-plan approvals and get variances.Since then, the number of students and teachers has been capped at 75, but the school has added two trailers and set up classrooms on the second floor to accommodate 165 students.The school has been operating with a temporary certificate of occupancy for the past three years.A bill passed recently in state Legislature that would allow the school to get a property tax exemption for the 2011 assessment rolls. The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City, and in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern, passed both houses in June but has not yet been sent to the Governor’s Office for his consideration.At least three fire departments, Tallman, Monsey and Suffern, were at the scene.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
News 12:A multi-family home went up in flames Thursday on Washington Avenue in Suffern.Police say lightning probably caused the home to erupt into flames shortly after 5 p.m. They say nobody was inside when the house caught fire.One officer was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital with minor injuries after a fire extinguisher exploded in his face. He was later released from medical care.The alarm was sounded during the height of severe thunderstorms. No one was home at the time. FIrefighters were hampered by the severe weather while fighting the blaze
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