HERMON A chimney malfunction appeared to be the reason for a fire that destroyed a Hermon home Wednesday afternoon.
Standing in the long gravel driveway of his 475 County Route 19 home, Timothy MacKiewicz and members of his family comforted each other as they watched volunteer firefighters from eight departments battle the blaze which engulfed the home in smoke and flames.
The first call came at 1:43 p.m. There were people home when the fire broke out, but no one was injured, St. Lawrence County Fire Investigator Jerry L. Wilson said, adding that the American Red Cross was notified. Mr. MacKiewicz declined to comment.
St. Lawrence County Fire Investigator Jerry L. Wilson said the fire apparently was caused by a faulty pipe cemented into the top of the chimney. An investigation into the cause though is ongoing. Hermon Volunteer Fire Department Chief Chris Stransky stood outside the home covered in ash as he directed his crew. Flames were seen coming from the roof at 3:30 p.m., and firefighters were still on the scene at 8 p.m. Traffic was detoured onto County Route 21.
The greatest challenge firefighters faced was that of manpower.
There was trouble getting manpower here, Chief Stransky said. Just trying to get help during the day is difficult.
Hermon Fire Department was the lead agency on the scene, but Chief Stransky said his department was not the first to arrive.
Edwards Fire Department was the first on the scene, since they are closer. This is at the far end of our district, Chief Stransky added.
Firefighters from DeKalb Junction, Fine, Heuvelton, Pyrites, Rensselaer Falls and Richville also responded, as did the Edwards Volunteer Rescue Squad. Gouverneur and Russell firefighters were on standby.