The members of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department were very busy this weekend, going out in sub-freezing weather to help others.
On Saturday afternoon, around 12:41 p.m., the fire department was toned out for a garage fire on Indian River Road.
When Fire Chief Charlie Gagel arrived he saw an immense amount of smoke coming from the detached garage in the rear of the property. He learned that the building housed containers of acetylene gas [a colorless, flammable, explosive gas used as a fuel in welding and cutting metal].
The Chief called for a second alarm as the first wave of firefighters was arriving.
Note: simultaneously, there was a serious car accident near the Entenmann’s Store on Bull Hill Lane, so firefighters were divvied up between the two incidents.
Luckily, there was a fire hydrant directly across the street from the driveway on Indian River Road, and the fire was knocked down fairly quickly, according to Gagel. The fire was contained to the left half of the divided garage, which served as a mechanic’s bay and housed a commercial truck. [The fuel and fluids in the truck added to the danger]
At 1:23 p.m. the UI had turned the power off to the building and about 10 minutes later, some of the 40 firefighters and fire apparatus were returning to the station houses.
The water flowing from the fire scene was mixed with some oil, and though the firefighters worked to keep it contained, Gagel called for the DEEP to check things out and ensure that the Indian River was not contaminated.
Gagel said the fire was hit quickly by a lot of water and the garage ventilated. It was handled well because all the members of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department are trained to properly handle these situations.
This morning around 11:30 a.m., the fire department was called out for an extrication at the scene of a two-car motor vehicle accident on Derby-Milford Road just north of East Slope Drive.
According to Gagel, one car crossed the dividing line and crashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle.
The firefighters had to do a double extrication, getting three people out of one car and cutting the driver from the other.
The metal was wrapped around the driver and that extrication took about 15 minutes to complete, according to Gagel.
Four people were sent to the hospital from this incident — the driver of one vehicle and all three people in the other car.
This also is something that the Orange Volunteer Firefighters train for.