New York Crews Battle Multiple Structure Fires

On Saturday, May 30 at 1:30 a.m., Owego Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a structure fire at the corner of Liberty and Temple Streets in the Village of Owego.

The weather was mild with temperature about 55 degrees and light wind. First reports were of a structure fire but that was immediately upgraded to multiple structures that were heavily involved. The fire scene spanned two streets in an "L" configuration with two houses on each street . Behind them, two garages also were burning, resulting in an initial scene involving six separate structures.

Mutual aid was immediately requested. Owego engines 801, 803, and 804 along with Tower 841, Heavy Rescue 851, Squads 831, 832 and 833, ALS Car 852, Fire Police 853 and approximately 55 firefighters responded immediately. Other companies responding included Campville, Southside, Newark Valley, Candor, Apalachin, Nichols, Weltonville, Tioga Center, Vestal (Broome County), West Corners (Broome County). At the height of the fire, over 140 firefighters and EMS personnel from the various departments were active on the fire ground.

Primary construction of the structures consisted of two-and-a-half story wood frame with balloon design.

Aggressive exterior attacks were initiated on both streets with two aerial streams plus an engine mounted master stream along with numerous two-and-a-half inch and one-and-three-quarter inch hand lines. Once the majority of fire was knocked, the attack was transitioned to multiple interior attacks.

A fifth house was threatened early on in the incident and started to burn due to the radiant heat, but firefighters in that sector were able to protect this exposure resulting in exterior damage to one side only. Owego's last engine went back in service at 13:00 hours.

An individual was arrested for arson in connection with this fire. It is alleged that primary ignition occurred in one of the garages with the use of flammables, which explains the amount of fire found by the first arriving responders.