A blaze gutted the fire station in Ashland, N.Y., destroying the town’s apparatus, ambulance and the town hall, according to WTEN-TV.
The fire started on Sunday morning and crippled Ashland's fire department and ruined its offices. Four of the station's fire trucks and a brand new ambulance were destroyed.
The town's municipal offices also were gutted.
"The building houses both the fire department and the town offices," Ashland Fire Chief Randy Sutton told the news station. "The fire started somewhere around the back, in the office section. Investigators say it will take several days before they know how this started."
Witness Dawn Goodrich, who was driving past the firehouse just before 6 a.m. Sunday said she smelled burning rubber before noticing the fire.
"I couldn't believe it was the firehouse. How do you save a firehouse?" Goodrich said.
Chief Sutton had no choice but to wait for help from surrounding companies. He told the station, "Trust me, when I showed up and couldn’t get in that firehouse. It was tough."
By the time the flames were out, all four fire trucks and a brand new ambulance were destroyed. "When they pulled out the first truck, there was like smoke all over it," Goodrich said. "It was black, and I think it was supposed to be white."
The damage was estimated at more than half a million dollars.
"We pretty much lost everything," Sutton said.