CLINTON — A Friday night fire at the Town of Clinton Highway Department garage destroyed a plow truck and damaged the building. However, snow-removal service should not be disrupted, according to town officials.
The cause of the fire was wiring in a plow truck, according to Town Supervisor Daniel LaClair. The truck was “lost,” he added.
In addition, the building was damaged, according to Mike Perreault, chief of the Churubusco Volunteer Fire Department. “There is a lot of heat and smoke damage,” he said.
The building and the truck are insured, Perreault said.
An alarm system and the rapid response of the fire department were essential in containing the blaze and minimizing the damage.
LaClair said that having the alarm system in the highway garage building “saved us 99 percent.”
“It took the firefighters about three minutes to get to the scene.”
Perreault said that no one was in the garage when the fire started.
“The two guys who work there were out plowing.”
With no one there to give warning of what was happening, he explained, “the alarm was what really saved us.”
Firefighters extinguished the blaze using water. A thermal imaging camera was essential in helping them target their efforts.
Using the camera, firefighters were able to find a spot in the ceiling where the fire was still burning. Then they tore out that portion of the ceiling in order to fully extinguish the blaze.
The loss of the plow truck has required some changes in snow removal. “We had an old spare truck, and we’re using that,” Perreault explained. “We’ll get by.”
He said that other towns have offered to lend equipment if it is needed.
Steven Matthews, superintendent of Highways for the Town of Clinton, said that the State Department of Transportation has also offered assistance. However, for now no assistance will be needed, he said.
“We can keep going,” Matthews said, provided there are no more major storms in the immediate future.
Matthews added that the town will begin looking for a new truck, or at least a used truck, next week.
“We know we’ve still got a long winter ahead of us.”
The holes in the ceiling of the building have been sealed, Matthews said, and power has been restored, with heat and some lighting. “At least we still have a building to work in.”
Matthews reiterated the importance of the alarm system in preventing graver damage.
“That’s what saved our garage,” he said, adding that he would recommend every town make use of such alarm systems.
“They’re well worth it.”
"The alarm was what really saved us." Mike Perreault, Churubusco fire chief