Poughkeepsie fire chief discovers backyard blaze

Chief Johnson, in sunglasses, talks with officers at the fire he discovered.

POUGHKEEPSIE – City of Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Mark Johnson was in the right place at the right time on Monday to discover a fire on Catharine Street and summon his department for assistance.

Johnson said he was traveling on Mill Street, heading to city hall around 11:00 am when he saw smoke and heard what he thought was the crackling of a fire.  He turned onto Catharine Street and attempted to locate the source.  He then proceeded to Mansion Street and looped around to Conklin Street.  He proceeded up Conklin until he determined that the fire was deep in the backyard of a Catharine Street house.  He then radioed for the department to be dispatched.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and went down the narrow walkway between two houses to get to the burning shed.  They discovered that the fire had started to melt the siding off of the rear of the house and they worked to prevent it from igniting.

Firefighters working on the shed fire.

According to Johnson, “This is the first time in 25 years that I have come across a fire.”  The chief said that the fire started when the tenant in the rear of the house was cooking food on the grill when the flames flared out of control.  The occupant went into the house to get water but when he returned, the flames had spread to the nearby shed and contents.

The fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported.  The City of Poughkeepsie Police provided assistance at the scene.

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