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Icy conditions hinder firemen battling house fire

WARRENSBURG Dozens of firefighters endured freezing conditions Tuesday night to battle a blaze that destroyed a hillside home just north of the hamlet. The home of C.J. Johnson on Morehouse Rd. was consumed in a fire that was first called in to Warren County Sheriffs Department dispatchers at about 7:30 p.m., said Warrensburg Fire Chief Justin Hull. Anthony Fuller, who lived at the three-bedroom mobile home with Johnson and his girlfriend Kim Trapasso, returned home after being away about an hour and saw the house in flames, according to C.J.s mother, Linda Johnson. Apparently no one was in the home when the fire started, Hull said. Her hair encrusted with frozen snow, Linda Johnson stood in the roadway watching firemen try to douse the flames that were leaping from the house on all sides. Im worried about their dogs, Callie and Boss, she said. Hull said at the fire scene that no cause had yet been determined for the fire. Johnson said the house was heated by a woodstove. C.J. Johnson and Kim were at Turning Stone Casino, celebrating his sisters birthday when C.J. received a phone call informing him that his home was burning down, Linda Johnson said. He was freaking out when he heard, she said. The frigid, snowy conditions presented problems in fighting the fire. Minutes after the firefighters had begun dousing flames, the lead pumper fire truck slid backwards 70 feet down the icy driveway at the home while firemen shouted warnings for others to get out of the way. The truck skidded the downhill distance even though the trucks wheels had blocks previously shoved underneath the tires to keep it motionless, firefighter Kevin Geraghty said. Geraghty, who serves as an officer for the fire district, said he was worried about the fate of the 10-ton, $330,000 truck. My heart sank when I saw it slide downhill, he said. The only reason it stopped at all was because it got wrapped up in fire hoses. The icy driveway and roadway caused other problems, as firemen occasionally lost their footing. Six tanker trucks relayed water from two hydrants near the town landfill at the north end of town to a portable fabric pool set at the intersection of Morehouse Rd. and Rte. 9. Water was pumped from there up the hill to the Johnson residence. Assisting at the scene were firefighters from Chestertown, Lake George, Horicon, and North Queensbury, Hull said. Bolton Fire Department members were on standby at the Warrensburg station. Firemen were at the scene until nearly midnight. The home was a total loss, Hull said. Neighbors said C.J. Johnson, Kim Trapasso and Anthony Fuller would be staying with friends for the near future.

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