First Briefing Expected By 4 p.m.
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman suffered injuries in last night’s garage fire in Middlefield and was treated at Bassett Hospital, but two other Cooperstown volunteers were more seriously injured and transferred to Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, which has specialty burn unit.
In all, five firefighters – two from other departments – were transported by ambulance from the scene of a fire in the hamlet of Middlefield, which broke out shortly before 9 last evening.
According to First Assistant Fire Chief Mike Malloy, the firefighters, including Chief Tallman and the two from other departments, were treated and released. “Two from Cooperstown Fire Department were transported last night to Upstate Medical Center and as of this morning both are in stable condition,” he reports. “Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
Three hours ago, a GoFundMe account was set up for Jon Roach. “His friends from Bassett, including me, thought a GoFundMe is appropriate for him, as it sounds like he will have a long healing process,” said Amanda Krucher, a nurse who set up the account.
The two most badly injured “were both close to the fire” when an explosion occurred, said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch today, adding, “They have our full support – and our prayers – and their families as well.”
While Tallman was at the hospital, the mayor said, he was able to speak with her late yesterday evening. She emailed other members of the Village Board at 11:45 p.m. to brief them on the situation.
As she understands it, the fire in the wooden garage appeared to be burning out shortly after the Cooperstown units arrived in the hamlet of Middlefield. But as firefighters approach, an explosion occurred. It might have been a propane tank, observers at the scene said.
The garage was owned by C.R. Jones, the retired NYSHA curator; his son, Graham, lives in an adjacent home.
Tallman and two other Cooperstown volunteers were among five firefighters ambulances transferred from the scene to Bassett last evening. The county Office of Emergency Services is expected to issue a press release on what happened before 4 p.m. this afternoon.
“Never has there been something like this before” in the Cooperstown department, said Tillapaugh, who discussed the matter with three other former fire chief holding vigil at Bassett last evening.
No official word has been released on which department the two other injured firefighters were affiliated with, but the mayor said they may have been Middlefield or Cherry Valley, who also were the first to arrive at the scene.
County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. said the state Fire Marshall’s Office is leading the investigation in collaboration with Art Klinger, the county’s Emergency Services director.