FREEHOLD — An early morning fire Friday destroyed a large garage at a Freehold business, Freehold Fire Chief Jim DiPerna said.

At about 2:07 a.m., Greene County 911 sent Freehold Fire Company to Smiley’s Equipment, at 3493 County Route 67, after receiving numerous reports of a fire at that location.

When the first firefighters arrived, the garage was completely engulfed in flames, DiPerna said.

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

“The building was fully involved when we arrived,” DiPerna said. “We went to work putting the fire out and protecting the other structures on the property.”

Additional manpower was requested to the scene.

County Route 67 was closed to traffic while crews worked.

There was good access to water, with two water sources on the property, DiPerna said.

One firefighter was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, DiPerna said. There were no other injuries.

At the height of the fire, several explosions could be heard coming from inside the burning building, which had been used to work on equipment.

The fire was declared to be out and all fire companies were back in service at 6:53 a.m.

The Greene County Fire Investigation Team responded to the scene.

Investigators listed the cause of the fire as undetermined at this time, DiPerna said.

Firefighters were called back to the business at 12:16 p.m. Friday, when the fire rekindled.

Fire companies assisting Freehold at the scene were: Greenville, East Durham, Cairo, Oak Hill-Durham and Earlton. Medway-Grapeville was placed on standby.

Also assisting at the scene were Greenville Ambulance and the Greene County Fire Coordinator’s Office.

Friday’s fire is the second in as many years for the Henderson family, who owns the building.

On Feb. 22, 2021, fire destroyed their home, which sat on the same property. Dozens of fire companies from Greene, Albany and Columbia counties fought the out-of-control blaze for hours.

An investigation determined the fire was caused by an outdoor wood stove and was ruled accidental.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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