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Fire rips Ausable Motors in Jay

A garage fire Sunday night in the town of Jay required seven fire departments and nearly four hours of dousing to contain it, according to the Jay fire chief.

The fire started in a flatbed truck in a garage at Ausable Motors at 13713 Route 9N, between the hamlets of AuSable Forks and Jay. Four vehicles and most of the building burned, owner John Roy said.

“I lost everything in there,” he said. “We had another building we were going to sell, but now we have to move into that one.”

Roy said the garage was not insured.

AuSable Motors doubles as a car dealership and a U-Haul service. Roy’s home is less than 100 yards away from the business, he said.

Roy said he first noticed the fire when the truck’s horn started beeping by itself.

Jay Fire Chief Max Thwaits said he got the fire call at 9:36 p.m. and was the first one on the scene.

“When I arrived, the vehicle was fully engulfed,” Thwaits said. “We were luckily able to contain it to the garage.”

Roy said much of the garage and attached offices suffered heat, smoke and water damage.

Thwaits said the fire did not spread to Roy’s home or camper, and there were no injuries.

The Jay, Upper Jay, AuSable Forks, Wilmington, Keene, Keene Valley and Keeseville volunteer fire departments responded to the call. Thwaits said there were some difficulties getting water at first.

“We thought we had a water supply established, but there wasn’t one due to a possibly dry hydrant,” he said, “and one of the pumpers couldn’t get a draft out of the river. The line may have been frozen.”

However, the crews used three fire tankers that hold 2,000 gallons each to douse the flames. The fire crews were back in service at 12:55 p.m.

Thwaits said the fire appears to have started in or around the truck. He said as of Monday afternoon the Essex County Fire Investigation Unit was determining the cause of the fire. Essex County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish said there was no suspicion of foul play.

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