Fire damages village, town offices in Village of Castile
Posted at: 10/02/2012 6:04 AM
| Updated at: 10/02/2012 5:15 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
A major fire overnight destroyed the village/town hall in Castile in Wyoming County and one person is unaccounted for. The huge fire drew mutual aid from seven counties.
A major complication was the fact the village fire hydrants were unavailable because of an ongoing water main project. When Castile officials decided to move forward on their water main project leaving their hydrants dry, they prepared for the worst. And the worst happened.
The Castile fire chief said the fire started in an upstairs apartment. The fire department is right next door. But with no water to fight the fire, the plan was activated to sound a second and third alarm. Pumpers and other fire companies from seven counties responded, twenty four in all.
John Thomas ran from his house one block away. He showed News10NBC the pictures he took with his camera.
Thomas said, “I heard the sirens go off. I’ve got pictures of that.”
Lorraine's Place, a restaurant attached to the town/village hall, was supposed to open as usual today. The owner, Lorraine Qutermous, lived in the upstairs apartment and her family said she didn't answer phone calls. They waited for word as firemen worked to stabilize the structure before they could start a search.
Brian Brown, Castile Assistant Fire Chief, said, “We're a volunteer organization out here. It takes time for us; we're in bed just like you are, to get up get going and get here, although we were on the scene in less than ten minutes. Our second and third alarms and that were put in almost immediately. Twenty four companies responded. That was adequate, absolutely, absolutely.
The town and village declared a state of emergency and moved to temporary offices in the fire house. Keith Granger is Castile mayor.
Keith Granger, Castile Mayor, said, “Well, it's been sad because it's an historic site and it had all the records for the village in it. It's a tremendous loss for the village.”
Unfortunately, both the town supervisor and the mayor agree, this historic old building cannot be saved. It started out in 1892 as a bank building. Soon it will be an empty lot, a reminder of the tragedy that happened here.
Fire crews are still on scene and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.