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Response to fire was admirable

July 30, 2015
Editorial , Lake Placid News

When there is a major fire, as there was at 2519 Main St. in Lake Placid last weekend - the busiest weekend of the year - our local fire departments hit the ground running.

How a major fire was fought and contained in such a well-orchestrated, professional and efficient manner is a tribute to our area volunteer fire departments, emergency service personnel and town, village and community leaders.

Here it was, the eve of the big Ironman triathlon race with visitors crowding downtown sidewalks, and streets, hotels and motels packed to the brim for the biggest weekend of the year.

Luckily, the call to action started with Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department driver Josh Favro, seeing the smoke and calling in to put out a second alarm for more equipment. Mutual aid and equipment came from Wilmington, Jay, Upper Jay, Keene, Keene Valley, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Bloomingdale and Paul Smiths-Gabriels volunteer fire departments. People that also took action were from the ambulance service, police department and even an out-of-the-area fireman, who was there to participate in Ironman, was up late helping. Unfortunately, he was so committed to helping fight the fire that he wasn't able to do the Ironman the next day.

They all attacked the fire systematically from the interior, from the top of the building and from Mirror Lake. The Lake Placid fire department had an aerial truck that was instrumental in fighting back the fire to help keep it from spreading to the other businesses and hotels. The pumper truck also helped pump water, as well as the fire boat, which was ready to go for the morning races and used to bring portable pumps to fight the fire by drawing lake water on the back of the building.

It could have been disastrous if it weren't for Lake Placid's preparedness, communication skills and the dedication of the community to pull together swiftly and effectively. As North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi mentioned, when it comes to requests at budget time for equipment for the fire department, having that aerial truck helped save the downtown from what would have been a disaster. We agree.

Maintaining a strong, competent volunteer fire department is hard enough, but we need to give them the tools to fight fire.

Many of the Ironman athletes commented on what an awesome community Lake Placid is and how they managed to pull off the Ironman in spite of such a disaster. As one athlete, Tom Wilmarth from Pittsford, said "Coming to Lake Placid is a wonderful experience, like a tonic that has him coming back for more."

We feel our Adirondack communities are special because they seemingly overcome any obstacle due to their love and commitment that is unsurpassed by any other place we know and have experienced. We are very proud and thankful to all who helped with the fire and what could have been a worse disaster. We are thankful no one was hurt and the Ironman event went on without a glitch.



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