Photos: Firefighters Battle Huge Motel Fire in NY

Raging flames consume the structure

Photos and incident report from Andrew Deierlein

Around 1300 hours on Monday, November 9t, 2020, Jefferson County (NY) dispatch was notified of a reported structure fire at the Rainbow Motel at 24480 State Route 12 in Watertown, New York. The initial caller stated that there were flames coming from the building.

At 1305 hours, Sheriff Deputy Gleason reported heavy smoke in the area and requested the road be shut down. The initial alarm called Pemelia, Glen Park, and North Pole to the scene as well as Guilfoyle Ambulance for standby on scene.

Based on the initial fire reports, command requested a second and third alarm be struck as well as the City of Watertown Fire for an engine and their truck to the scene. The second and third alarms brought Town of Watertown, Lafargeville, Calcium, and Brownville fire departments to the scene.


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At 1319, County Car 1 requested Calcium fire to respond to the Department of Transportation building on 342 to establish a full site for tankers. At 1344, City of Watertown Fire Chief Timerman requested a recall of A and C platoons to help cover the city for any additional calls. An additional request was made for tankers from Three Mile Bay, Depauville, Clayton, Chaumont, and Evans Mills.

Shortly after it was clear that the building could not be saved and that a defensive attack would have to be made as the water supply was not adequate enough to sustain a large fire. There were also reports of a large grass fire starting behind the structure; Evan’s Mills was requested to respond with their brush truck to handle that.

At approximately 1328 hours, command requested Cape Vincent and Clayton fire to the scene with tankers as well as Cape Vincent stand by to cover Chaumont and Three Mile Bay. At 1407 hours, Sackets Harbor Fire was also requested and asked to standby in the Brownville Fire station to cover any additional calls.

At 1504 it was reported that there was a water main break near the hydrant that Calcium was filling tankers with and that they would need to stop using it. A request was made from Car 1 for light towers from Cape Vincent and Black River but was also later cancelled.

At 1608 hours it was finally reported that the fire was under control. Units remained on scene well into the night checking for hot spots and investigating the cause of the fire, which remains unknown at this time.



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