Shortly before 7:00am on Tuesday morning, Rockland County's Fire Dispatch Center (44-Control) received an automatic fire alarm activation for building 1 of the Germonds Village condo complex on Rt. 304 in Bardonia. Immediately following the alarm came a flood of 911 calls reporting a fire in one of the upstairs units of the building.
Arriving on scene, Asst. Chief Brian Ready (8-3) confirmed the working fire. With Chief Todd Giraudin (8-1) arriving right behind him to assume command, 8-2 made first entry into the building. With the front doors to both the building and the fire apartment having been left open by the fleeing occupants, the flames were fed by a rush of fresh air coming up through the stairwell. Faced with excruciating amounts of heat and smoke, Asst. Chief Ready was able to close the apartment door, while crews from first due 8-EQ, led by Lieutenant Joe Pacella stretched lines to the building.
Having deployed a courtyard stretch of 3" and 1 3/4" hose (a courtyard stretch is used in garden apartment or condo style buildings when the supplying pumper is unable to get close enough to the fire building for a conventional pre-connected handline), crews led by veteran nozzleman Craig Simon made the initial push into the fire apartment.
The heavy volume of fire, combined with the 1960's era lightweight truss construction, allowed the fire to vent itself through the roof, and quickly engage the adjacent apartment. A second 2 1/2" attack line was deployed to the second apartment to attack the flames from that direction. All in all, 3 courtyard stretches would be deployed to feed 5 handlines in use within the fire building.
With record breaking heat and humidity in the lower Hudson valley, outside temperatures were already above 80 degrees at the time of the blaze. "Days like today (are) a fireman's worst nightmare," said Chief Todd Giraudin. "Right off the bat, my guys already had a tough time with the weather." Because of this, mutual aid was called from several neighboring departments. Volunteers from Pearl River FD, West Nyack FD, New City FD, Central Nyack FD, Spring Valley FD, Nyack FD, Suffern FD, Hillcrest FD and Sparkill FD were called either to the scene, or to stand-by.
A handful of firefighters received minor injuries from hot debris during the course of the attack. They were treated on scene by local EMS.
The fire was deemed under control roughly an hour later, and all units returned to normal service before midday.