January 16, 2013

Snow knocks down chimney, starts fire


---- — SCHUYLER FALLS — A family’s home was left partially damaged by a fire that started when snow slid off the roof.

”The snow hit the chimney pipe, and it dislodged the second pipe from the third,” said Kevin Randall, fire chief of Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department. “It was like having a chimney (venting) right into your attic.”

The cause of the fire was “something I hadn’t run into in the 28 years I’ve been here (at the Fire Department),” Randall said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a snow load take down a chimney.”

Morrisonville Fire Department was dispatched to 189 Flat Rock Road in the Town of Schuyler falls at 9:49 p.m. Monday night, Randall said.

When they arrived at the house, there was “light smoke coming from the north end of the gable and the gable end (of the house),” he said. 

The Ficociello family was home when the fire started, and Cindy Ficociello called 911, Randall said.

No one was injured, including the family’s cat, Randall said.

The one-story home sustained smoke and water damage to the living room area. The ceiling of that room was pulled down so firefighters could reach the roof, Randall said. The fire was trapped between the metal roof material and the plywood of which it is composed, he said.

A 10-by-20 foot section of the roof was also damaged, Randall said.

Cindy, her husband, Mark, and their son received immediate financial assistance for food and lodging from the American Red Cross, the organization said in the press release.

They have insurance on the home, Randall said.

A total of 45 firefighters responded to the blaze, he said.

Mutual aid to Morrisonville was provided by departments from Cadyville, South Plattsburgh and a coordinator from Clinton County Car 1 of the Office of Emergency Services, Randall said. Clinton County Fire Control said Plattsburgh District 3 also assisted. Morrisonville EMS stood by.

The Morrisonville Fire Department was back in service shortly after midnight Tuesday.

— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.

PUBLIC MEETING The Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department hopes their plans for a $2.5 million addition to the fire house will soon be approved by voters. Five truck bays with larger doors and higher ceilings, a community room, a decontamination room, expanded office space, a day room for mutual aid departments and a fitness center are included in the architect's drafts. A public meeting is scheduled for today at 6 p.m. at the fire house. The Fire District Commissioners and the architect will be in attendance to answer questions. A referendum vote on the project financing is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 31. The tax rate was incorrectly reported in Monday's article about the fire house addition proposal. This 51 cents cited in the article is in addition to the districts current 77 cent tax rate. Should the addition to the Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department be approved, the estimated tax rate would be about $1.28 plus or minus a couple cents depending on the conditions of the bond that would finance the addition, said Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kevin Randall. The Press-Republican regrets the error.