Aggressive Attack Limits Loss at Lumberyard Fire
East Rochester, N.Y., Fire Department
Photo by Past Chief James Burlingame, East Rochester, N.Y., Fire Dept.
An aggressive interior attack prevented a large loss at the Rochester Lumber Company in East Rochester, N.Y.
The lumberyard complex consists of two-story masonry and wood buildings with one entrance off a main road. An 80 X 30-foot attached wooden storage shed was fully involved. Fire had breached the common wall of the main building and had gained considerable headway on the second floor. The site was the scene of a serious fire 10 years ago and the East Rochester Volunteer Fire Department had a pre-fire plan for the lumberyard.
The fire was discovered by the engineer of a passing freight train who radioed the nearest railroad yard 80 miles away in Buffalo. The yard notified the Monroe County Fire Dispatcher’s Office which alerted the East Rochester Fire Department at 3:36 a.m. last October 5. Sixty-one members of the 64-man department responded with three pumpers, a quint and a rescue truck.
The first pumper arrived at 3:39 a.m. and laid a 3-inch supply line into the complex. The initial attack was with a 2 ½-inch line to the second floor of the main building. The pumper’s preconnected 1 ½-inch lines were used to cover exposures until the other apparatus arrived and additional supply lines were laid.
At 3:40 a.m., Chief Auggie Mazzo arrived and sized up the situation. If the fire extended any farther into the main building or to exposures, it was inevitable that the entire complex would be lost. The single access road to the complex and extremely long distances to hydrants presented a major problem. At 3:41, Mazzo requested a pumper from Penfield and a pumper and an elevating platform from Fairport to respond to the fireground. A pumper from Pittsford was requested to cover a station. Minutes later, he called the Pittsford pumper and a pumper from Brighton to the scene. An aerial ladder from Egypt and a pumper from Bushnell’s Basin were called to cover at the East Rochester Fire Station.
The balance of the East Rochester apparatus and mutual aid companies began setting up for master stream operations. However, they were not used. The 2 ½-inch interior attack line stopped the fire in the main building. Additional 1 1/2-inch lines were used to mop up inside and 2 1/2-inch hand lines were used to knock down the remaining fire in the storage shed. Several mutual aid companies were not used. The origin of the fire was reported as suspicious.