Crews handled several challenges to battle Averill Park fire on July 8

There are new details on a major Averill Park fire from Friday, July 8 on Old Route 66. NewsChannel 13 has learned about the challenges in fighting this fire.

The Averill Park Fire Department needed a lot more manpower than they have and a lot more water than they have access to.

Scott Gallerie Sr., the town supervisor for Sand Lake, said all the firefighters for Averill Park are volunteers and there are not enough of them.

Roughly 17 different fire departments and nearly 80 firefighters helped put the fire out.

Gallerie Sr. said Sand Lake and Averill Park do not have a main water source. There also aren’t many fire hydrants. That means they use the several lakes and ponds they have to put out fires in their neighborhoods. Crews also used dry hydrants, which are essentially pipes underground, to pump water from a lake up near the road. However, one of them was not working so well.

Crews also had to bring a large water tank truck down to the lake, fill it up with gallons and gallons of water and bring it back up to the fire.

NewsChannel 13 asked Gallerie Sr. if the fire would have been put out quickly if they had better water access: “I believe it would have been easier and more efficient,” he said. “But I’m being told from the people that fight the fires that it probably would not have affected what was involved.”

The good news is there’s a solution

Gallerie Sr. said they are in the very first step of having a water district, in other words, a water system.

They have hired an outside engineering firm to create a map where the water district would cover and are writing down how many houses would have access to this.

The majority of the money to cover the construction of a water district would come from state and federal funding. The rest of it would come out of the pockets of the property owners.

Gallerie Sr. said they expect it would cost each taxpayer an extra $250 to $400 a year.

There’s already been positive feedback.

“People that I’ve talked to have generally been in favor of it, obviously with the stipulation that it can’t be a real big ticket item,” Gallerie Sr. said. “For most people, with everything going up, they can’t afford a lot more, but it’s a valuable enough resource in their minds that I think they’ll support it.”

Gallerie Sr. said they can’t have the water district unless their residents agree to this.

There will be public meetings on the plans in the next six months or so. Then, eventually, a public vote.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.