NEW LEBANON — What was first thought to be a structure fire turned out to be an illegal burn, Lebanon Valley Fire Chief Matt Larabee said Friday.
On Thursday, at about 1:55 p.m., Columbia County 911 sent five fire companies to Ceramaseal Inc., at 1033 Route 20, after receiving reports of a large amount of smoke coming from the business.
When the first firefighters arrived, they discovered that employees were allegedly burning debris from the warehouse. “When we pulled in, they had a fire burning in a dumpster, and were standing around watching it,” Larabee said.
The workers were cleaning out the building, and allegedly burning a lot of the materials, Larabee said.
Firefighter extinguished the blaze, Larabee said.
State police who had also responded to the scene notified the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Officer Jeff Cox issued the owner a ticket for a violation of New York State’s burn ban, Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Regina Willis said.
New Yorkers are reminded that in an effort to reduce the number of spring brush fires, the state’s residential brush burning ban is in effect through May 14.
If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267), Willis said.
Fire companies that were sent to assist Lebanon Valley, but were not needed, were Canaan, Red Rock, East Chatham and Stephentown.
Chatham Rescue Squad assisted at the scene.
All firefighters were back in service at 2:49 p.m.