RICHMONDVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A large brush fire broke out in Schoharie County on Wednesday. Several crews—some reportedly from Otsego and Delaware Counties—responded to Richmondville, near the county line, to fight the blaze.
The fire began around 3 p.m. on Winegard Road near train tracks. Officials believe the fire was sparked from a passing railroad work car that was clearing brush from the tracks. Once crews had an understanding of the magnitude, it was all hands on deck.
“So the wind is actually driving the fire, so we’ve been chasing the fire,” Richmondville Fire Chief Dennis Cole explained. “When we contain hotspots, when the wind picks up, it actually fires up the hotspots again.”
The flames stretch along five miles of track, and smoke could be seen from as much as 20 miles away. Black ash fell from the sky, and firefighters worked on foot as well as on ATVs to extinguish numerous fires.
Darren Sperbeck, whose mother lives along the tracks, raced over after she called and showed him what was happening in her backyard.
“By the time I got there, was mainly smoke, but up in the woods behind their house it was like four to five, probably 3-foot of flames still through the woods,” he said.
The Lady’s Auxiliary opened their doors and kitchen for the crews battling the fire and told NEWS10 what they saw when they got to the church.
“Lots of smoke because that was in both directions on each side, so it was kind of confusing at first to know where all the fire was,” Susan Davis said.