HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, MARCH 14
ST. PATRICKS DINNER – 4 – 7 p.m. Enjoy Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner, performance by Irish Step Dancers hosted by The Knights of Columbus. Take-out encouraged. Free, Donations accepted. St. Mary’s Parish Center, 31 Elm St., Cooperstown. 607-437-4626 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
SHAMROCK SWING – POSTPONED
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, MARCH 12
DRAGON DATES – 5:30 p.m. Dip & Paint with local artist, Diane Stensland. Choose an image to paint then enjoy variety of dipping foods with the Family Resource Network. Preregistration required. Elm Park United Methodist, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-0001 or visit familyrn.org/event/dragon-dates-paint-and-dip-activity/
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11
FILM SOCIETY – 7 – 11 p.m. Cooperstown film society presents Noir double feature ‘The Big Clock’ (1948) & ‘An Act of Violence’ (1949) with special guest Libby Cudmore, author ‘The Big Rewind’ & journalist, joining us for dark discussion of black & white crime. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Visit www.facebook.com/FilmSocCoop/
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, MARCH 10
TRYOUTS – 6 p.m. Children aged 9-12 are invited to try out for Oneonta Little League, Major League. Ages 10-12 are required to try out. First come-first serve, pre-registration required. Alumni Field House, SUNY Oneonta. Visit oneontalittleleague.sportngin.com
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, MARCH 9
GARDEN CLUB – 7 p.m. Rick Marci presents ‘Attracting Birds Throughout The Year’ on how to create bird friendly ecosystem using plants, food, feeders. Illustrated through use of Rick’s excellent pictures. St. James Episcopal Church, 305 Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-1458 or visit www.facebook.com/Oneonta-Federated-Garden-Club-133855897358767/
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, MARCH 8
MUSIC – 2 p.m. Celebrate shared humanity with musical selections from South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, others. Performers include clarinetist Robin Seletsky, flutist Ana Laura Gonzalez, pianist Michael Bauer, a capella ensemble Eight is Eneuf. Free, open to public. Temple Beth El, 83 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-286-9085 or visit www.templebetheloneonta.org/temp/
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, MARCH 7
BENEFIT LUNCH – Noon – 2 p.m. Support Cooperstown Food Pantry at Empty Bowls Luncheon. Pick a unique bowl by a local potter to enjoy lunch of soup by local chef. Suggested donation $15. Parish Hall, Christ Church, 69 Fair St., Cooperstown. 607-547-2627 or visit cooperstownfoodpantry.org
HELICOPTER – 5:30 p.m. Army Reserve & NY Army National Guard collaborate with Cooperstown Graduate Program for military exercise featuring UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters landing at Bassett. Public is welcome to observe, tour once the aircraft are shut down. Please follow direction of military personnel to ensure a safe distance from the aircraft while it is in operation. Landing will be near Bassett Helipad, across from Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown.
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, MARCH 5
DEBATE – 7-9 p.m. Three candidates for two seats on the Cooperstown Village Board – Democrats MacGuire Benton and Joe Membrino, and Republican Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns – will debate in the Village Board room, lower level, at Village Hall, 22 Main. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Election is Wednesday, March 18.
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
MIDDLEFIELD – By the time the explosions began – “a ball of white fire,” according to one witness – that came from inside the burning garage in this hamlet on Wednesday, Feb. 26, it was too late.
“It started as this small white ball, and then it became this massive white flame that shot 100 feet out of the building,” said Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman. “The flames just came straight at us.”
In all, five firemen, including Tallman, were injured in the blast.
Two of them, CFD’s Jon Roach and Scott Monington, were transferred to the burn unit at Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse. Tallman, as well as Middlefield firefighters John Sears and Ryan Smith, were treated at Bassett Hospital and released.
“In 42 years on the job, I’ve never seen injuries of this magnitude,” said Tallman.
The call came in at 8:45 p.m. The Middlefield Fire Department was dispatched to 3679 Route 35, which leads into the hamlet from Route 166. They were soon joined by Cooperstown, Westford, Cherry Valley and Milford, with Springfield and Mount Vision on standby.
Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a two-story garage and a car engulfed in flames.
“Info was conveyed to us that there were explosives” – perhaps propane or acetylene tanks – “on the property,” said firefighter Victor Jones, the county’s deputy Emergency Services coordinator. “But that was right about the time of the explosions.”
He clarified that the garage was a home workshop. “We were caught in a spot where we were vulnerable,” said Tallman. “The fire must have touched some oil or something.”
Tallman received second-degree burns on his face. Roach and Monington were treated for more extensive second-degree burns on their faces and airways.
“The last time we had this multiple injuries at a fire was the Colliersville train derailment” in 1974, said Jones.
“We feel very fortunate,” said Tallman. “And we’re thankful all our guys are on the road to recovery.”
The garage was owned by C.R. Jones, the retired NYSHA curator; his son, Graham, lives in an adjacent home.
GoFundMe drives were set up for Roach, a patient-care technician, and Monington, a correctional officer at the Otsego County Jail. As of this writing, Roach’s has raised $12,125; Monington has raised $6,410.
In addition to the GoFundMe campaigns, the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market set up a “Fill the Boot” drive to collect donations for the fire fighters.
“People have really been stepping up,” said Tallman. “They’re dropping food off for them, different departments are offering to send their members, we even had a fire fighter from Minnesota making a trip out here to see them. As soon as it happened, he emailed me.”
And on Sunday, March 1, Roach and Monington were welcomed back to the Village with a fire truck parade, which took them over Murphy Hill, up Route 166 and past the site of the fire. Cooperstown EMS leaders Eric Pierce and Joel Bostwick, who picked up the injured men in Syracuse, even shaved their heads in solidarity.
“Jon had so many facial burns, including his ears and his forehead, that they had to shave his head to make sure there were no burns on top,” said Tallman.
Tallman has returned to service; Roach and Monington are still recovering. “We’re just happy to have them home,” he said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation with the Otsego County Office of Emergency Services and the state Office of Fire Prevention & Control.
“Once we have those findings, we may look at what we could have done differently,” said Tallman. “You just never expect anything like that.”
Contributions Also Accepted Saturday
At Cooperstown Farmers’ Market
COOPERSTOWN – Online GoFundMe drives are now underway to assistant Scott Monington and Jon Roach, the two Cooperstown volunteer firefighters injured by explosions at the garage fire in Middlefield Wednesday night.
The drive for Scott, a correctional officer at the Otsego County Jail, was established three hours ago and, as of this writing, has raised $2,385. To contribute, click here
The drive for Jon Roach, a patient-care technician, was established yesterday and so far has raised $7,215. To contribute, click here
Also, a table will be set up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at the Cooperstown Farmers Market, where donations, either money or food, will be accepted. All donations will be forwarded to the Coopertown Volunteer Fire Department.