GERMANTOWN — A firefighter with the Germantown Fire Department was brought to the hospital after she became ill while fighting a fire on Thursday, Germantown fire chief Mike Lawson said Friday.

The firefighter, who name has not been released, experienced chest pains and shortness of breath. She was examined by Northern Dutchess Paramedics before she was taken to Northern Dutchess Hospital, where she was admitted, Lawson said.

The hospital was performing tests on the firefighter, Lawson said Friday afternoon.

Five fire companies fought the fire, which leveled a large garage.

At about 4:48 p.m., Columbia County 911 sent the Germantown Fire Department to a home at 50 Hunterstown Road after receiving several reports that a building was on fire.

When the first firefighters arrived at the home, they found the garage engulfed in flames.

“The fire spread very quickly,” Lawson said.

Fire officials immediately requested mutual-aid assistance from neighboring fire companies.

A site was set up to fill tankers at the pond in Palatine Park.

Fire police closed Hunterstown Road to traffic.

The garage was a total loss and there was nothing left to the structure, Lawson said.

The 20-foot-by-30-foot building, which was used for storage, was under construction at the time the fire started. Contractors were working at the site earlier in the day, Lawson said.

The cause of the fire is being blamed on spontaneous combustion due to oil-soaked rags, Lawson said.

Fire companies that assisted Germantown were Clermont, Livingston, Hudson and Tivoli.

Also assisting at the scene were Northern Dutchess Paramedics, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Columbia County Fire Coordinator’s Office.

All fire companies were back in service at 6:04 p.m.

The most common type of spontaneous combustion fires are those caused by improperly disposed of oil- and stain-soaked rags, according to the National Fire Prevention Association.

Spontaneous combustion of oily rags occurs when the rag or cloth is slowly heated to its ignition point through oxidation. A substance will begin to release heat as it oxidizes.

If this heat has no way to escape, like in a pile, the temperature will raise to a level high enough to ignite the oil and ignite the rag or cloth, they said.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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