COOPERSTOWN – The three fire hydrants closest to Mohican Flowers failed as firefighters battled a “ball of fire” that consumed the greenhouse last evening.
Each hydrant was a different situation:
• Main-Nelson: A fire truck drove over the fire hose once it was under pressure, causing the flange at the base to snap, disabling the hydrant, according to a written report Mayor Jeff Katz received overnight.
Railroad-Leatherstocking: The operating nut at the top of the hydrant next to Spurbeck’s Grocery, which opens the flow of water, snapped, according to the report Katz received. Examined this morning, it appeared to be rusted.
Bruce Hall lot: Katz said the report he received didn’t mention that hydrant. (Bruce Hall, in addition to a hardware store, is a lumber yard.)
COOPERSTOWN – A 100-year-old greenhouse behind Mohican Flowers was consumed last evening by what proprietor Carol B. Waller’s husband Bill described as “a ball of flame, an orange ball of flame.”
The Wallers – Carol is former Cooperstown mayor – had gone to bed when they heard over the scanner at about 10:30 p.m. that a house on Leatherstocking Street, behind the greenhouse, was on fire. Former fire chief Brian Clancy, who lives on Leatherstocking and made the original call, called in in a few moments later to correct the location: It was behind the flower shop.
The Wallers hurried to the scene to find the greenhouse fully engulfed.
However, firefighters with AirPacs went into the main building, which was attached to the greenhouse, closed the connecting door and opened the front upstairs windows to let the smoke out. That saved the building, and Carol said she expects to be open for business by Monday.
“The fire department did a marvelous job,” said Bill. “They saved the building.”
He said the fire started in a basement under the potting shed where the oil burner is located. The official cause of fire was still uncertain today. However, Bill said a state inspector had done a routine inspection of the burner just last week.
The Wallers’ Bayliner Classic boat, containing 50 gallons of gasoline, was parked about 10 feet from the greenhouse, and the tarp was melted onto the boat today. However, Bill said a firefighter stood by the boat, directing a spray of water against it, and little damage was done.
Some of the siding on Bieritz Insurance, close to Mohican Flowers on the west side, had melted, and associated Ben Novellano was on the roof this morning, trying to determine the extent of the damage.
In addition to Cooperstown’s firefighters, Fly Creek and Hartwick Seminary responded.