Seven New York Firefighters Injured in Blast at Controlled Burn

Courtesy WNYT 13, Albany

Amsterdam, NY (April 27) - An unexpected explosion at a controlled burn outside Amsterdam has injured seven firefighters. Neighbors say they felt the explosion, shortly before 9:00 Saturday morning.

It happened at an abandoned house on Poplar Drive, off Route 5, in the town of Amsterdam. The house was the site of numerous training drills by the Cranesville Volunteer Fire Department over the last six months. As firefighters ignited one more blaze, intending this time to burn the house to the ground, it unexpectedly blew up.

Assistant Chief Mike Beyer tells NewsChannel 13 that "as they were lighting the structure for the final burn, there was a 'boom', and the building collapsed".

Firefighters say the house was full of junk, including old car parts. But they did not believe anything in there was explosive.

No one knows what went wrong. The home had been abandoned for at least 10 years, and firefighters say utilities had all been disconnected.

No one was inside at the time.

The injured firefighters were said to be standing 30 feet from the home as it was set ablaze, but the explosion hurled an exterior wall on top of them. Two of them were airlifted to Albany Medical Center, and are now listed in good condition. The other five have now been released from Saint Mary's Hospital

State fire investigators are probing the ruins to come up with a cause for the explosion.