On Saturday 8/24/19, the Croton-on-Hudson Fire Department was dispatched to a reported structure fire in the Discovery Cove Condos on Half Moon Bay Drive. Our volunteers would face a fast-moving and gas-fed fire, eventually reaching a 4th Alarm for additional manpower.
At 7:45 AM, Westchester County Fire Control (60 Control) began receiving multiple calls for a structure fire in the southern end of Half Moon Bay Drive. Per our pre-planned assignments, a Full Department Response from the COHFD and a FASTeam from Ossining FD were dispatched. Car 2083 (Assistant Chief Munson) was first to respond and requested an extra Ladder Company from Ossining to the scene as well.
While enroute, 60 Control reported a Fire Chief from another department was in the area confirming fire thru the roof, so Car 2083 requested the "10-75" or working fire assignment to be dispatched. Upon the arrival of 2083, he reported heavy fire from the end unit of the 1000 block of Half Moon Bay Drive with an explosion and quickly upgraded to a 2nd Alarm for additional Mutual Aid assistance. Car 2081 (Chief Colombo) arrived at the same time and established Command while Munson took the "Operations" role.
Tanker 10 (in place of Engine 119 which was out for repairs) was first to arrive, and two pre-connected hose lines were immediately put to work. Crews faced a ruptured gas line going into the home, further complicating the firefight, and requested Con Edison Gas on a rush. Additional hose lines would then be stretched off of Engine 118 and Tower Ladder 44, while the master stream from TL44's aerial platform was also put into position. Assistant Chief Dinkler (2082) took up the "Charlie (Rear) Sector" where mutliple crews and hose lines were used to keep the fire from travelling the exterior and roof into additional attached units.
Realizing the combination of lightweight construction materials, the gas-fueled fire and potential for major fire spread, Command struck a 3rd Alarm at 7:55 AM. Montrose E121 would help our E120 lay some 1500 feet of 5" hose to a hydrant near Croton Point to the scene, and Verplanck E128 would end up stretching about 500 feet of 5" hose down the river walk to supplement two hose lines in the rear of the building. Crews from Ossining, Montrose, Montrose VA, Buchanan, Bedford Hills, Yorktown Heights, Thornwood, Tarrytown, Valhalla, Pocantico Hills worked together to extinguish all visible fire by 9:00 AM. As a precaution, when the 3rd Alarm was transmitted, two Fireboats (Stony Point in Rockland and Tarrytown) were requested as another source of water, but were not needed.
Crew remained on scene for several hours opening up and checking for fire extension in both the original fire unit and adjacent units. Thanks to an aggressive interior attack combined with exterior fire attack and crews getting into neighboring units early on in the incident, fire damage was limited to the original unit with only minor damage in the attic of the next unit. A couple of other units sustained water and smoke damage, but no fire damage. To assist with the overhaul, a 4th Alarm was transmitted for relief companies at 9:40 AM. In total, 7 hose lines from E118, E121, E128, TL44 & T10 as well as 1 ladder pipe were used to extinguish this fire.
Two volunteers - one from Croton and one from Montrose - were taken to Westchester Medical Center for treatment of minor burn injuries. No other injuries to first responders or residents were reported. Over 100 firefighters - nearly all of them volunteer - operated at this incident, as well as close to two dozen EMS personnel that aided the injured and provided rehabilitation services.
The Croton-on-Hudson Fire Department is very grateful and appreciative to our Mutual Aid partners on scene, as well as those that provided coverage in Croton during this incident - whom handled a ruptured gas line on Observatory Drive during this fire. We are also impressed and humbled by the outpouring of support in the way of much-needed refreshments on scene from the many neighbors and other concerned "Crotonites."
The Westchester County Cause and Origin Team, as well as Croton-on-Hudson Police Department, investigated this fire and determined it be accidental in nature.
Of the 100+ firefighters on scene, more than 50 of them were from the COHFD, and they operated on scene for nearly 8 hours plus another 2+ hours cleaning up back at their stations.
Additional photos can be viewed here: https://kemptersfirewire.smugmug.com/Multiple-Alarm-Croton-on-Hudson-Half-Moon-Bay-/?fbclid=IwAR0GgxtB9VkrTLPx-ToCuU_GGHc6RyMGwVpmwTum1rB0gUNBJh76q3gv5dU