POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- City of Poughkeepsie firefighters were on the move from early Tuesday until later in the evening with manhole fires that zapped power to the downtown district, and ended with a house fire caused by a wood stove, according to the City of Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Mark Johnson.
"It was a crazy day, but that's what you get in this business," Johnson said.
The house fire at 118 Catherine St., began about 6:36 p.m., after a woodstove in a back room, started a fire in the rear wall after sending flames through a vent pipe to the outside, Johnson said.
The fire caused minor damage to the interior of the home because the room was an addition, but the room where the stove was located received heavy smoke damage. No was injured, he added.
"It's very important that residents have wood stoves and other heating devices installed by a professional and have them inspected," Johnson said.
Firefighters had started their day with a call, also to Catherine Street, around 9:45 a.m. for a manhole fire that spread and knocked out power to the entire downtown area,'' he added.
Approximately 830 customers (buildings, homes, accounts) were interrupted as a result of the outage, John Maserjian of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. told Daily Voice.
Three people who were in a building on Catherine Street where the original fire started had to be treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation, the smoke was so intense from the underground fire, Johnson said.
Manhole fires are usually caused by the underground power and utility lines that have become eroded from salt and when water hits them they arc, he added.
"These types of fires are intense and very violent because of the high voltage you are dealing with," the Chief explained.
Firefighters also responded to another manhole fire in the area of Main and Hamilton streets around 5:40 p.m.: "Fortunately, this fire didn't have the same consequences as the earlier fire," he added.
Chief Johnson said 2017 has started off as a busy year with the department handling 144 calls in 10 days. Unfortunately, the top number of calls are for overdose victims and medical calls, followed by car accidents and house fires.
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