This clip is from www.firefighterclosecalls**** and it features an explosion during a control demoliton by ...
This clip is from www.firefighterclosecalls**** and it features an explosion during a control demoliton by an Amsterdam Fire Department.
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Explosion Rocks Amsterdam, New York Training Fire
Five sent to hospitals after firefighting exercise gets out of control
Courtesy of Albany NY Times Union
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One of the injured firefighters remained hospitalized Monday evening at Albany Medical Center, said hospital spokesman Greg McGarry. Firefighter Thomas Champain suffered a right leg fracture and was listed in fair condition, McGarry said.
Another firefighter, Jarod Gilston, was admitted to Albany Medical Center in good condition but has since been released.
The other firefighters injured in the explosion were treated and released Saturday from St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam, NY, said a hospital spokeswoman.
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Amsterdam, NY - A planned training exercise for a volunteer fire department turned into a genuine emergency Saturday when an empty two-story home exploded, sending five firefighters to area hospitals and a plume of dark gray smoke over Route 5.
The explosion, which occurred shortly after 8 a.m., injured five firefighters who were apparently hit by falling debris, Michael Beyer, assistant chief of the Cranesville Volunteer Fire Department, which started the burn.
Two firefighters were hurt so badly they were airlifted to Albany Medical Center Hospital. On Saturday afternoon, Thomas Champain listed in fair condition, while Jarrod Gilston was in good condition at Albany Med.
The explosion rocked nearby homes, reminding some residents of the earthquake that shook the area just one week before. Those closest to the explosion, however, said they felt something many times the strength of the recent temblor, which emanated from Clinton County and registered 5.1 on the Richter scale.
"That earthquake was nothing compared to this,'' said Duane Kendle, whose Chapman Drive home sits about 50 feet down a hill from the abandoned building on Poplar Street that was flattened in the explosion.
Kendle was sitting in the kitchen at the back of his house drinking coffee when the explosion sent glass over his home and onto both Chapman Drive and adjacent Route 5, he said.
"I thought it was a runaway fire truck coming through the wall,'' Kendle said of the boom and its vibrations. "It scared the hell out of me.''
The three other hospitalized firefighters, whose names were withheld by the fire department, were treated and released Saturday from St. Mary's Hospital at Amsterdam, said Jody Kates, a nursing supervisor at the hospital.
Several other firefighters were hurt getting their colleagues out of the building, Beyer said. One sprained an ankle while others suffered smoke inhalation, he said.
No neighborhood residents were injured, and there was apparently little property damage to nearby homes. The force of the vibrations did blow the lock off an inside door at Kendle's house, he said.
About 40 firefighters from the Cranesville Volunteer Fire Department were on the scene Saturday morning to participate in the planned burn, Beyer said. The firefighters had been doing exercises at the site for several weeks in preparation for the burn, he said.
An accelerant was used to start the fire, Beyer said, but he would not say whether the fluid mixture was responsible for the explosion that occurred early in the drill.
"It's under investigation,'' he said.
Amsterdam Town Supervisor DiMezza declined to comment on the cause of the explosion, saying he was awaiting reports from the Cranesville fire department, the Montgomery County Emergency Management Office and the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control, which is investigating the incident.
About 50 firefighters from five area volunteer departments responded to the incident, said Don Krutz, assistant chief for the Hagaman Fire Department. Others on the scene were from Fort Johnson, Tribes Hill and the town of Florida.
New York fire departments conducting controlled burn exercises, unlike those in many states, are not required by law to follow procedures set out by the National Fire Protection Association, according to an official from the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
Despite Saturday's experience, Beyer said the fire department will continue to participate in planned burns because the training exercises are crucial to teaching firefighters how to combat a real blaze. Cranesville and three other volunteer fire departments in the town of Amsterdam have conducted about 10 such exercises in the past decade, he said.
A similar training exercise turned deadly last year in Lairdsville, near Utica. On Sept. 25, a 19-year-old volunteer fire fighter, Bradley Goldon, died on the second floor of a building after the practice burn got out of control. In February, Assistant Chief Alan Baird was charged with manslaughter in Goldon's death.
In Amsterdam, Beyer declined to say who owns the property on Poplar Street, except to say it is not the town of Amsterdam or Montgomery County.
Nearby residents said they'd been informed in advance that firefighters intended to burn the building as a training exercise. Kurt Semon, said the structure has been empty for the eight years he has lived on Drive, two doors down from the intersection with Poplar Street.
After undergoing the trauma of a real blaze and seeing their colleagues injured, firefighters received stress debriefing sessions Saturday to help them handle anxiety and other negative emotions, Beyer said. Professionals from St. Mary's Hospital encouraged them to cry, to talk and to do anything else that would help them release the stress.
"Basically they tell us that it's OK not to be the manly man,'' Beyer said. writer Andrew Tilghman contributed to this report.