Downed power lines spark fire in Clarence

CLARENCE, N.Y - Downed power lines sparked a shed fire and set several pine trees on fire Saturday evening.

Firefighters were called to a home on David Drive around 6 p.m. but it took several hours to put out the flames because of live wires.

Firefighters say they called NYSEG when they got to the scene, but crews didn't show up to cut electricity until 10:45 p.m.

Harris Hill Volunteer Fire Department Chief Nick Radlich said that delay put nearby homes at risk.

"We had emergency services tied up for five hours. We understand they have a job to do, too, but when it's an emergency so do we," said Radlich.

Firefighters were able to fully extinguish the flames once the electricity was shut off.

Rachel Buchanan, NYSEG's public affairs manager, told us on Sunday that crews were spread thin Saturday night because they were already helping Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) to repair damage from storms that had moved through the area on Friday and Saturday. She said that when crews learned that the Clarence incident involved a shed fire it was placed lower on their priority list than it would have been if it had been a fire in an occupied structure.

Buchanan also said that a check of NYSEG records shows that crews responded to the call within three hours and that the problem was resolved in less than three-and-a-half hours.

Katie Vitale, a resident of the address where the fire occurred, tweeted the photo accompanying this article, saying, "had an electrical fire last night that took NYSEG over 4 hrs to respond to," and added, " didn't think this was an emergency."


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