Cold, hot roof hinder firefighters in New London

Published Jan 10, 2017 at 4:00pm

TOWN OF VERONA — Frigid temperatures and a hot tin roof hindered firefighters during a house fire on County Highway 50 Monday afternoon.

Officials believe the fire started in the pellet stove. The resident has been displaced from her home.

New London Fire Chief Gene Carey said a neighbor discovered the fire in the hamlet and called 9-1-1 at about 4 p.m. Volunteer crews responded and found the two-story home in flames, with heavy fire on the second floor and in the basement. No one was home.

“It was burning up on that second floor before anyone had even seen it,” Carey said.

“We started out with an exterior attack, then we went interior to get up on that second floor to beat some of the flames back.”

The chief said the residence had a tin roof that kept the heat inside the residence. He said they had to peel back the roof “to get the heat out of there” for their interior attack.

Carey said the fire took about three hours before it was under control. Frigid temperatures on Monday forced them to rotate firefighters in and out of service. Carey said they also had to keep the hose lines running water so that they did not freeze up.They did have a problem with run-off water freezing on the roadway, making for an icy scene, but a sand truck was brought in to cover the ice, the chief said.

One firefighter was hospitalized after he was struck in the helmet with a tree branch while he was clearing room for hose lines at the front of the house, Carey said. The firefighter was not injured, but was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

Carey said the fire is believed to have started in the pellet stove on the first floor. The single resident was not home at the time. She has been displaced from her home. The New London, Verona, Vienna, Durhamville, Sylvan Beach, North Bay, Westmoreland and Taberg fire departments responded.