Fire departments, motorists clean up after storm

From left, Gary Castine, Matty Saehrig and Andrew Cassada clean up a tree that had fallen across Oregon Plains Road during a storm on Tuesday. Elizabeth Francisco, out of frame, said she came across the pine tree and pulled it out of the road herself before calling Castine in with his chainsaw. As Castine made his last cut, the Bloomingdale Fire Department arrived. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Firefighters from Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Tupper Lake and Bloomingdale responded to multiple reports of trees down in the road and utility lines down as a thunderstorm passed through the area on Tuesday.

The storm included some heavy rain and strong wind, at times making driving conditions difficult for responding firefighters. Fire departments scrambled members to locations around Saranac Lake, Bloomingdale, Tupper Lake and Lake Placid to clear trees from roadways.

As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, National Grid reported a smattering of electric outages in the Tri-Lakes region impacting more than 100 people, mostly in Saranac Lake, Brighton, Piercefield and Santa Clara.

Good Samaritans with chainsaws

In the Bloomingdale area, tree debris littered the road — branches, leaves, pine needles and twigs.

Aubrey Fox, from Saranac Lake, was clearing branches from the roadway on county Route 55 on Tuesday evening.

Elizabeth Francisco was driving to Onchiota when she came across a pine tree blocking both lanes of the road. She pulled the tree out of the road herself and she called her boyfriend, Andrew Cassada. Cassada called their neighbor, Gary Castine, and the three of them got to work.

“I figured, he’s got a chainsaw,” Cassada said. “Let him go crazy.”

Francisco, Cassada, Castine and another motorist, Matty Saehrig, diced up the tree and by the time the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department had arrived, they had the tree cut up in little pieces on the side of the road.

“You stole our thunder from us! Jeezumcrow,” the fire truck driver shouted as he pulled up.

Wires down off McKenzie Pond Road

A tall, leafy tree on Tadds Road fell across the roadway, dragging down an entire row of power lines with it. The Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department responded but didn’t approach the tree because of the electrical lines. The department stood by and waited for National Grid to arrive.

Colleen O’Neill, of Saranac Lake, was stuck in her truck at the entrance of the wooded neighborhood, waiting to get back to her home on Ironwood Road.

“Nobody was hurt. They’re taking care of it super quick,” O’Neill said. “If I have to wait a little while it’s not a big deal.”

She was coming back from the grocery store when she found the fire trucks had blocked off the road. O’Neill said she had perishables that had to be refrigerated, so she dropped those off at a friend’s house.

Fire department members told her it would be an hour until she could get back home, which she thought was optimistic.

She was surprised at how fast they got the road cleared. An hour later, the roadway was clear of the tree. An Asplundh tree company truck was on site. As of Tuesday evening, National Grid employees were working on putting down power lines back on poles.


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