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June 9, 2014

Morrisonville fire seriously damages home

MORRISONVILLE High temperatures and a hot fire challenged firefighters here Saturday afternoon as they worked to extinguish the blaze and stay hydrated.

The fire at Chris Crowingshield’s 10 Old Orchard St. home was reported at about 3:30 p.m.

The fire departments from Morrisonville, Cadyville, District 3 and South Plattsburgh responded, with Peru Fire Department standing by.

The fire was under control within 20 minutes, Morrisonville Fire Chief Kevin Randall said. No injuries were reported.

Crowningshield and he and his family were not at home when the fire was reported.

“A friend told me about it,” Crowningshield said afterward. “I was at the Cadyville Field Day.”

No pets were injured in the fire.

David Rabideau, Morrisonville’s Second Assistant Fire Chief, saw smoke and went to investigate while driving past the house that morning.

“I figured, ‘Somebody can’t be burning on a hot day like today,” he said.

But as he got closer to the house on Old Orchard Street, he noticed “smoke and flames” were visible and went to report the blaze.

As the firefighters jumped into action, the high outdoor temperatures became a factor that tested their own endurance.

“One of the major concerns today is you’re talking 82 degrees,” said Randall.

The protective clothing that firefighters wear is designed to keep heat out, but, he noted, “the thermal barrier also keeps the heat in.”

During this past winter, firefighters often had to face extreme cold. Now, they were dealing with the opposite challenge.

“In the winter you can prepare yourself by bundling up more. In the heat, there’s only so much you can take off and stay safe.”

So, part of Randall’s job today was “trying to make sure the guys stay hydrated.”

Along with that, crews were changed regularly to prevent anyone from succumbing to heat exhaustion.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Although the firefighters were able to put out the blaze quickly, the interior of the home suffered extensive smoke and heat damage, Rabideau said. “I’m pretty sure it’s a total loss.”

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