Two major winter storms wreaked havoc on Croton and our region over the past week, keeping our volunteers quite busy.
On Friday, March 2nd, Winter Storm Riley brought snow, rain, ice and incredibly strong winds into the area, with lingering affects late into Saturday. Our members were placed on storm standby around 11AM Friday, and remained in place for nearly 12 hours. Due to the increased amount of emergencies within Westchester County, the department entered "Storm Emergency Mode," which meant modifying our usual apparatus assignments, utilizing our own "Fire Base" dispatch room, and utilizing alternate radio communications.
On Friday, in about 10 hours, we answered 29 emergencies and calls for assistance. These responses included downed tress and wires in the roadway, tress fallen on structures, an alarm investigation and assisting Croton and Ossining Police with traffic control on Route 9 when wires fell across all lanes just south of the Croton River Bridge.
The overnight was relatively uneventful, however our members were back at it Saturday morning. A large tree fell on the Antiques Store on Brook Street, heavily damaging the structure. FD units remained on scene for several hours awaiting a response from Con Edison to secure the utilities to the building. Luckily no injuries occurred. Also on Saturday, we responded to six additional alarms. Units were dispatched to an activated Carbon Monoxide Alarm on Quaker Hill Drive, only to discover both a CO emergency as well as a propane leak from the generator. Personnel secured the propane source, shut down the generator, and vented the home of the fumes.
While taking up from the Quaker Hill incident, we were dispatched to Darby Avenue for the reported chimney fire. Engine 119 arrived, and the Lieutenant on that apparatus (Roosa) confirmed an active fire. Members stretched a 2" pre-connected line as a precaution, accessed the roof via portable ladder, checked the interior for fire extension in the walls and attic, and extinguished the fire. This was the first time, since implementing new response procedures mid-February, where a FASTeam from Ossining was dispatched on the initial assignment. They remained on scene until we placed the situation under control a short time after arrival.
Winter Storm Quinn came into town Wednesday, dropping several inches of heavy, wet snow on our area. This generated another 10 or so incidents - including more trees/wires down, a couple of false alarms and a Carbon Monoxide incident due to a running generator that wasn't in the best of locations. Additionally, in the middle of the snow storm, our Tanker 10 was dispatched to a reported fire in Yorktown, but was cancelled while en route, as the fire was a generator with no structural involvement. Again, during this weather event, our members provided standby crews for over 12 hours at all three firehouses.
During the second standby detail, members took the time to do a training drill with members of Explorer Post 2089 at Station 1 as well.
In between these two storms, we responded to the routine incidents, as well as a slightly unique call. On Tuesday morning, we were summoned to Colabaugh Pond Road where an acetylene tank was leaking inside a contractor-type van. Personnel established a safe area, identified the product, shut off the leaking tank and ventilated the vehicle with no incident.
As a reminder to all of our viewers, if you see downed wires - or fallen trees tangled up in wires - always, ALWAYS assume they are still LIVE! Never attempt to move fallen wires, don't try to cut up fallen limbs entangled in wires and respect any barricades/caution tape that is put up around these hazards. We fully understand how frustrating it can be to have to detour away from these hazards, but please do not put yourself needlessly into harm's way. If you see downed power lines, always call 9-1-1.
We would like to thank all of the other agencies that worked to keep Croton safe and to get us back to normal - including the Croton DPW, Croton Police, Croton EMS, New York State Police, Town of Cortlandt Highway Department, Con Edison, Verizon, Optimum and those electrical companies that came to help Con Edison - including Toronto Hydro.