•50 Years Ago - May, 1959•

Worst fire ever at area lumber yard

The Northern Lumber Company buildings at Riverside destroyed by fire, Sunday, May 10, 1959, will be rebuilt promptly, William Harvey, treasurer of the company announced. The blaze required the services of 160 firemen from 14 companies in Warren and Essex counties before it was extinguished. The Warrensburg Fire Company was present at the scene.

The fire is believed to have started near the drying kilns as the building suddenly burst into flames with no warning, spewing embers and flaming wood. The woods were soon burning and bits of fire landed high in the trees which burst into flames. The radius around the mill was dotted with nearly 20 small fires when the firemen arrived and they had to be extinguished immediately to keep the fire from spreading even further.

More than 50 piles of lumber were burning during the blaze and the heat melted telephone wires and utility lines in the entire area. The tires on two tractor trailers exploded under the intense heat. Four fire trucks pumped water out of the Hudson River and two more pumped out of a nearby brook.

Hundreds of volunteer workers arrived in their cars and began aiding in fighting the inferno. Even women were pressed into service as countless fires continued to pop up in the tinder dry woods and they rushed to stomp them out. One firefighter, Gordon Persons of the North Creek Fire Department, was injured when he was hit in the leg with a hose which had kicked loose.

The saw mill and the home of manager Kenneth Trushaw escaped damage. The lumber company employs more than 75 people. It was the worst lumber yard fire in the history of Warren County.

Electrical substations to be built here

Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation is planning the construction of new substations in Warrensburg and also in Lake George to handle the rapidly increasing electric load springing up in the southern Adirondacks, announced Roy W. Randall, company district manager. Randall said $930,000 worth of new projects are planned for this area in 1959.

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