Monday, September 26, 2016

9 firefighters injured in Cragsmoor, NY fire: Multiple explosions caused by a propane leak rocked the foundation ofa former Catholic Church and blew out windows at 12 Meadow Lane, injuring the firefighters.

Injured Firefighters Released From Area Hospitals
Posted on: September 25, 2016.

Paula Mitchell

CRAGSMOOR, NY–Nine firefighters who were injured battling a blaze Saturday at a former church were treated and released from area hospitals, according to a fire official.

The house at 12 Meadow Lane, a former Catholic church, was badly damaged in the blaze. Photo by Paula Mitchell.

Multiple explosions believed to have been caused by a propane leak rocked the foundation of the structure and blew out windows at 12 Meadow Lane, injuring the firefighters.

Scott Stedner, the first assistant chief at the Cragsmoor Volunteer Fire Company, said three of his men were hurt and the others were from Walker Valley and Bloomingburg.

He declined to identify them but said most were treated and released from Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown. One was transported to MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie.

He said they suffered a variety of injuries and all were expected to make a full recovery.

“Thank God they’re all doing well. They’re a little sore but doing well,” he said.

Stedner said the fire broke out at around 4:30 p.m., producing a lot of smoke and explosions that rattled the neighborhood.

Dick Peters said his son and daughter-in-law were about to join the homeowners for dinner, and as they arrived, “all hell broke loose,” with jarring explosions, glass shooting everywhere and smoke billowing from the former Chapel of the Sacred Heart.

He described the owners as weekenders from the city with young children. The family escaped the blaze unharmed.

On Sunday afternoon, Peters and his wife, Pat, were among the neighbors helping the couple sort through the wreckage and clear out belongings.

The house, formerly Chapel of the Sacred Heart, had changed hands many times and was recently bought by a family described as weekenders. Photo by Paula Mitchell.

The Peters said the chapel holds a lot of history for the locals, including themselves.

They were married there 50 years ago and recently celebrated their anniversary at the house by invitation of the owners.

“We had over 100 people from Cragsmoor come to it, and we renewed our vows at the altar, which is in the same place as it was 50 years ago,” Pat Peters said in between sobs.

She had not yet ventured inside and was concerned it may have been lost to the blaze.

Her husband, who owns Peter’s Market in Napanoch, said while the building is sentimental to him and his wife, he feels bad for the family, which recently bought the property and had been doing a lot of work to it.

“They’re the ones that we’re really feeling sorry for. This has historical significance to us, but we’re just sad for the people who own it,” he said.

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart became a residence several years ago and had changed hands many times, Peter said. At least two artists lived there and built additions over the years.

Stedner said the home sustained heavy damage and did not appear “stable.” He said the cause of the fire is being investigated.