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Famed Oscar's Smoke House consumed in blaze

Raymond Lane neighbor Joe Barlow called 911 to report the fire.

He said he had just sat down to dinner, and his wife Ellen glanced out the window and she remarked there was a lot more smoke coming from Oscar's than was normal in the meat-smoking process.

"I then looked at the smoke, saw flames coming out the roof and I grabbed the phone, called 911 and then went out to take photographs which I later gave to an investigator," Joe Barlow said.

Jerry's wife Kathy Quintal, said she was home at the time the blaze broke out.

"I went to open up some windows and there it was, smoke billowing out from under roof," she said. "We've had minor grease fires in the smokehouse before, but I could tell, with the amount of smoke, this was not the usual grease fire."

Within seconds, flames were shooting out of the roof and a thick plume of black smoke were then soon visible a considerable distance.

After the buildings were evacuated, firefighter Scott Combs went inside the business and brought out a painting of the enterprise's founder, Oscar Quintal - a painting that for two generations had hung over the cash register. Combs had also grabbed the checkbook on his way out, Jerry Quintal said.

About a half-hour later, the main structure had collapsed on itself, and several hundred people had already gathered to watch the fire and mourn the devastation of the enterprise.

Considerably more than 100 firefighters from Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co. and 12 neighboring fire agencies -- as far away as Bay Ridge -- were on site soon afterwards to fight the blaze. They were able to keep the fire from damaging other nearby houses.

Involved in the blaze were firefighters from Warrensburg, Lake George, Chestertown, Bolton, Thurman, Horicon, Riverside and Queensbury.

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