Firefighters batttle grass fires


By David Avitabile

Firefighters from three departments fought several small fires apparently started by a passing train along the Canadian Pacific railroad tracks in Richmondville Monday.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury fighting the fires.
Schoharie County Fire Coordinator Matt Brisley said the first calls about the fires came in just before 10am to the county 911 center. Dispatchers fielded nearly 50 calls throughout the day as motorists traveling I-88 could see the smoke from the fires.
A westbound train is believed to have started several brush fires along the north side of the railroad tracks between Podpadic and Raven roads in Richmondville, Coordinator Brisley said.
Two of the fires were larger and more stubborn than the rest and firefighters spent about five hours putting them out, he said.
About 35 firefighters from Richmondville, Cobleskill and Central Bridge were on the scene, along with state Forest Rangers Bill Henry and Tom Edmunds, and the Richmondville Volunteer Emergency Squad.
One firefighter suffered a minor knee injury and was taken to Cobleskill Regional Hospital by the emergency squad, Coordinator Brisley said.
Richmondville Fire Chief Gary Rightmyer directed the firefighting efforts. Crews were on the scene until almost 4pm.