GOLDENS BRIDGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The cause of a fast-moving fire that engulfed a firehouse in Westchester County Monday morning appears to have been an accident.
As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, the fire broke out around 9:45 a.m. at the Goldens Bridge Fire Department building on Waccabuc Road.
“At this time, the fire is believed to have originated from a faulty electrical connection to a fire truck while parked inside of the firehouse,” the New York State Police said in a statement.
The building had hard-wired smoke detectors, Fire Commissioner Edward Brancati said. Other departments responded after an automatic alarm was set off by the smoke detector, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
Hard-wired smoke detectors, by definition, do not require batteries – and earlier reports that the smoke detector batteries were dead are not correct, Brancati said.
Brancati said he and another firefighter were inside the building when they smelled smoke coming from the rear of the building.
“There was a wall of smoke coming towards me and there was some sort of orange glow and then there was an explosion,” Brancati told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones. “It was very quick. I was stunned.”
“We called 911. It’s embarrassing to call and say there’s a fire at your firehouse,” Brancati told Smith.
Brancati said the other firefighter started removing vehicles and equipment from the six-engine firehouse when he became overcome by smoke. He was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
Tanker trucks from 17 departments brought in water to put out the fire, Smith reported.
Assisting departments said the tanker used by Goldens Bridge was empty, but Brancati said the reason it was empty was because its entire 3,500-gallon capacity had already been used to fight the fire. It was returned to a nearby reservoir to be refilled.
It took more than two and a half hours for crews to completely knock down the flames, Smith reported.
In addition to structural damage to the building, a $500,000 fire truck and two SUVs were destroyed in the fire.
Route 138 was closed for most of the day as they investigate.
Neighboring departments will help cover Goldens Bridge’s territory, Haskell reported.
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