Freehold fire ruled accidental

Bill Williams/Columbia-Greene MediaA fire broke out at a home in Freehold on Saturday.

FREEHOLD — Five adults and four children are receiving emergency aid from the American Red Cross after a fire destroyed their home in Freehold on Saturday afternoon.

The home is owned by Sheryl and George Henderson, according to Greene County property records.

The Henderson family, which operated Smiley’s Farm and Industrial Equipment on County Route 67, was evacuated by first-responders before flames engulfed the structure, Greenville Fire Chief Wade Davis said Monday leading to a total loss of their house, said Greenville Fire Chief Wade Davis on Monday.

“The fire was ruled accidental at the scene,” Davis said.

Greene County Undersheriff Adam Brainard said the fire was caused by an outdoor wood stove and is not considered suspicious.

He also said the Smiley’s fire is not believed to be connected to the brush fire on Deyo Road in Cairo Saturday afternoon.

DEC confirmed that spill response personnel and state Department of Environmental Conservation police officers were requested by Greene County to contain an oil spill caused by the fire.

Two 275-gallon-capacity aboveground tanks leaked fuel oil that was used to heat the home.

“The tanks were secured after the fire and are not currently leaking any additional fuel oil,” a DEC spokesman said.

DEC is coordinating with the property owner and will oversee a comprehensive cleanup of the site, the spokesman said.

Warm, dry air last weekend created the ideal conditions for brush fires, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Thompson in Albany.

“Snowfall on the ground is below normal in that part of New York, Thompson said. “Typically we still have snow on the ground at this time of year.

“Peak brush fire season is end of March to May, but it’s not unheard of this time of year,” Thompson said. “Then windy conditions help to spread the fire.”

The property contained 300 running tractors, skidsteers and lawn mowers and 1,200 different parts of old tractors, according to the business’ Facebook page.

Greenville Town Supervisor Paul Macko said he thought the tractors and farm equipment on the property were grandfathered in when Greenville adopted zoning laws in 1987.

“I agree with Mr. Macko’s opinion,” Greenville Code Enforcement Officer Mark Overbaugh said.

The Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is providing financial assistance to the family for shelter, food and clothing. The family’s children are 12, 14, and 16.

Tiffani Koschitzki, owner of the Equestrian Center at Bailiwick Animal Park and a friend of the Hendersons, is offering pony rides for donations to support the family. Koschitzki is also helping to organize a ”filled wagon” drop-off point for donations outside her barn.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(1) comment


Wade Davis is freehold fires CHEIF not Greenvilles

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