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Fort Edward highway garage fire

A fire gutted the Fort Edward town highway garage late on May 8, claiming several vehicles. In recent days, town officials have learned that the building is a total loss.

FORT EDWARD — A fire at the town’s highway garage last week has left the building a total loss.

Melissa Davidson, an insurance representative from Northern Insuring Agency, told the public the news Monday night before the Town Board.

An electrical malfunction in a dump truck sparked a fire around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at the Culver Street building.

Fort Edward Fire Chief Matt Hurlburt had told The Post-Star that propane tanks in the building exploded in the blaze.

At least one side of the building appeared salvageable, but Davidson said the adjuster deemed it a total loss because “it will be the same to knock it all down than to just repair the one side.”

The building is a four-bay garage, with a fire wall down the middle, Supervisor Terry Middleton explained. Two bays sustained heavy damage from the fire, while the other side had smoke damage.

The town’s insurance policy will pay about $500,000 to replace the building and about $60,000 for the contents. Davidson said the vehicles will be replaced faster than the building.

The Town Board voted Monday night to allow Middleton to enter into any intermunicipal agreements for the use of equipment, vehicles and services “to maintain necessary services for town residents.”

Many services were already back up and running, and resident Theresa Rose said she was surprised to see her brush picked up. She asked, too, if the town could replace some of its equipment with the insurance money.

Middleton said some of the equipment was so old, the value had depreciated. For example, the town’s garbage truck is now worth about $6,000 at 20 years old.

“So we, with what the insurance company would give us, we cannot go buy (a new one),” Middleton said.

Town Highway Superintendent Brian Brockway thanked his crew for helping on the night of the fire. He also thanked the Fire Department for saving as much as they did.

Middleton thanked Brockway, too, and said he “and the whole crew have gone above and beyond” not only the night of the fire, but in their continuing to serve the community.

After the meeting, Brockway said Washington County has helped by lending equipment when needed.

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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