Large building in flames at Letchworth
Wednesday, December 6th 2006
The Journal News
THIELLS - A large building at Letchworth Village is burning tonight but firefighters can do little more than watch.
Their efforts are being hampered by a lack of water at the scene, leaving many to just stare at the burning building while tanker trucks hauled water from hydrants on nearby streets.
The blaze at Stewart Hall on Steward Circle started on the second floor then spread to the third. As firefighters worked to extend hoses to the building, flames engulfed the roof, which eventually collapsed in several places in the rear portion.
Fred Viohl, fire inspector for the town of Haverstraw, said there was no immediate indication of what caused the fire, which was reported at about 9 p.m. The county's arson unit was on scene.
The building was being used for warehousing, but Viohl said he didn't know what was being stored there.
Viohl and John Kryger, a deputy county fire coordinator, said the building was going to be renovated into commercial space, including retail shopping, as part of the redevelopment plan for the former state-run center for the developmentally disabled.
Kryger said firefighters initially entered the building with water taken from pumper trucks, but were pulled out.
"It's a vacant building," he said. "There's no reason to get anyone hurt."
After 90 minutes, at least 10 fire departments had responded to the call, many called in because of their specialized equipment.
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