21 Aug 2014
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Firefighter: Department Struggles to Get to, From Fire Scene

Slippery conditions and fallen trees slowed firefighting work Wednesday evening.

Firefighter: Department Struggles to Get to, From Fire Scene

The Martinsville Volunteer Fire Company responded to a structure fire on Woodland Terrace Wednesday evening—but with snow falling heavily throughout the township, that was no easy ordeal.

According to Bill Rose, with the fire company, a call came in to the department around 8:30 p.m. about a structure fire caused by a generator. He said the owner of the home had placed a plastic shed between his generator and the house—the shed caught on fire, and set the siding on the house on fire as well.

But with about 8 inches of snow having already fallen in Martinsville at that point, Rose said, even the four-wheel drive on the department's vehicle had trouble navigating.

Once they arrived near the scene, Rose said, the firefighters were unable to maneuver the large vehicle closer than about 100 feet from the house because of piled-high snow, as well as downed wires and trees.

And they couldn't turn the truck, Rose said, because, aside from the snow itself, someone had abandoned a vehicle on the side of the road after she had difficulty moving it in the snow.

"We had to move the equipment by hand," he said. "Finally we got there."

Rose said the owner of the home was throwing snow at the fire until the fire company arrived, and they were able to extinguish the fire soon after. Just some of the siding caught on fire, Rose said, and the home is definitely salvageable.

But when the fire company left the scene, that was not the end of the evening's ordeal.

When they tried moving the vehicle from the Woodland Terrace home, Rose said, they were unable to turn it because of the snow.

"We got the town to send snow plows, and we had to back the apparatus about three-quarters of a mile," he said. "And we had to get the woman to move her car, which she did reluctantly."

From there, Rose said, they began driving the vehicle down into town—and first almost hit low-hanging wires on Washington Avenue, then were stopped by a tree blocking the road on Cedar Crest.

"We had to cut it away," he said.

When they were close to Route 22, Rose said, and thinking they were home free, the vehicle was stopped again on Morning Glory Road for another tree that had fallen and was blocking all four lanes of traffic.

These trees, Rose said, had all fallen in the snowstorm, and so they took care of cutting that one away too.

By the time they finally made it home, Rose said, it was 12:45 a.m.

"We struggled to get to the fire scene and we struggled to get home," he said. "This was probably the worst in terms of conditions I've seen in 30 years of firefighting."

Fortunately, in all the incidents Rose said, there were no injuries reported.

But throughout the evening, Rose said, the snow was incredibly slippery throughout the township.

"The ferocity of the snow surprised everyone," he said. "Bridgewater had plows, so they were taking care of business."

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