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Firefighters praise state trooper for helping save house during freezing weather


MADRID — A state trooper is being praised by a local volunteer fire department for his assistance in fighting a Madrid house fire in freezing weather Friday.

Madrid Volunteer Fire Chief Derek D. Kingston said the quick response of his men and the help of Trooper Robert E. Larrabee, who happened to be passing by the fire, at 2042 Route 310, kept the home from burning to the ground.

“Without the actions and assistance of Trooper Larrabee, we would have been looking at a structure that could have been completely destroyed,” Chief Kingston said. “He assisted with my firemen on the scene with initial setup and attack of the fire and we really appreciate him for his action.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the St. Lawrence County Fire Investigation Team, but Chief Kingston said homeowner Carl Planty II also helped contain the fire.

“He arrived home at approximately 3 p.m. when he heard the smoke alarms in the home going off,” Chief Kingston said. “Mr. Planty entered the home and found the fire contained to the bedroom and closed the bedroom door, helping to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the house.”

No one was home when the fire started and there was minor smoke and water damage to the rest of the house, according to an investigation team report.

But especially because the temperature was 7 degrees, Chief Kingston said, he’s glad the trooper helped his men locate and knock out the fire swiftly.

“Definitely with colder weather we have problems with the truck pumps freezing up and draft sites, where we can suck water from the river, can be a hindrance because everything freezes up in these sub-zero temperatures,” Chief Kingston said.

Additionally, gloves get wet and freeze up, the chief said, and firefighters are rotated to a heated rescue truck to keep them from being exposed to the cold too long.

He said cold weather brings the risk of more fires caused by wood stoves and chimneys.

West Potsdam, Morley, Norfolk volunteer fire departments and Madrid Volunteer Rescue Squad also assisted on the call.

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