Firefighters battled a fire at a Route 20 auto repair shop Wednesday morning, marking the second major blaze in the Schoharie County hamlet of Sloansville in less than a week.
On Saturday, an 18-year-old occupant escaped out a second-story window of a house that caught fire, about a half-mile down Route 20 from Wednesday’s blaze, which destroyed Rose’s Main Street Auto & Tire.
Central Bridge Fire Chief Scott Johnson said there were no injuries in either blaze, but the victim of Saturday’s fire was taken to a hospital for evaluation and released.
Firefighters were called to the auto garage at 9:39 a.m. Wednesday. By the time Johnson got close, he said he saw thick black smoke billowing into the air.
“When I broke over the hill, all you could see was a ball of fire coming out of the two garage doors. It was well-involved when I arrived,” he said.
All the occupants in the garage escaped safely.
Johnson said a mechanic was working on a vehicle with a cutting torch that is believed to have sparked something inside the car. The man’s efforts to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher failed, Johnson said.
Between 40 and 45 firefighters were involved in battling the blaze, including crews from the Central Bridge, Esperance, Carlisle, Charleston, Schoharie, Cobleskill and Glen fire departments. Delanson firefighters were stationed at the Esperance station for backup, Johnson said. There are no hydrants in the area, but firefighters were able to truck water to the scene from several ponds.
Neither fire is believed to be suspicious. Johnson said both buildings are likely total losses. The garage that caught fire Wednesday showed signs of cracking in the concrete block walls in several spots, and it’s unclear if it can be salvaged, Johnson said.
The fire Saturday, near the corner of Saddlemire Hill Road, began in the general vicinity of a pellet stove, Johnson said.