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Fire levels Amish saw mill in Galen

by WayneTimes.com
December 26, 2020

On Sunday (12/20) at 1:27 a.m. the Clyde Fire department received a call of a saw mill fire at 387 River Road in the Town of Galen.

According to Clyde Fire Chief Joseph Tavano Jr., the sawmill belongs to and Amish family, the Schmuckers, and was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived on the scene. He stated that initial overnight Clyde crews were out within minutes and could see the blaze light up the south side of town.

Help was immediately summoned from departments in both Wayne and Seneca Counties.

“It was partially collapsed with only a south wall remaining when we arrived”,  stated Tavano. 

The eight to ten thousand square foot structure was only feet away from a firewood shed and other outbuildings  and about 80 feet away from the family house.

One of the chief problems facing firefighters was that the family farm was serviced by dirt roads without municipal water and fire hydrants available, and problems with a hydrant due to the cold.

This required tanker trucks to be brought in,  along with “a couple thousand feet” of hose line to be laid.

Workers at the mill quit about midnight and the blaze was discovered hours later when the wife was awakened. Luckily the family did have a cell phone.

The building had no electricity, but was heated by a wood burning stove. It is believed the fire may have originated in the piping above the stove.

Firefighters and equipment arrived at the scene from as far away as Wolcott, Sodus Center, Wallington, North Rose, Rose, Savannah, South Butler, Junius, Waterloo, Fayette, Border City and Lyons. “There were thirty of my guys there and seventy-five from other companies,” said Tavano. Clyde firefighter cleared the scene at 6:15 a.m.

The building, per Amish custom, was not insured.

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