MALONE –– Quick work by nearly a dozen fire departments from throughout Franklin County prevented a repeat of the disaster that struck the town of Franklin Highway Department garage in December.

Crews were called to the Franklin County highway garage around 8:18 a.m. Saturday after fire was reported in the structure on State Route 30 in the town of Malone. Malone Fire Chief Alan Durant issued an “all-call” alerting every department in the county to the blaze, in part because of the size of the building and in part because of the fire that ravaged the town garage in Vermontville on Dec. 7. The building, four vehicles and many pieces of equipment were destroyed in that blaze.

But on Saturday, crews were able to make “a quick knockdown,’ Durant said.

The fire apparently began in the welding area at the rear of the garage, Durant said. A closed door that separated the welding area from the rest of the building helped contain the blaze to that area, he said.

The welding area was severely damaged, but the rest of the building emerged essentially unscathed, he said.

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

The heavy snow that blanketed the area on Friday and the subzero temperatures that followed did little to hamper the firefighting efforts, Durant said. The area around the garage had been cleared of snow by the time the blaze was reported and the extreme cold caused the fire hoses to freeze only after the blaze had been knocked down and water was no longer being pumped through the lines, he said.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, he said Saturday afternoon.

No injuries were reported.

Crews from Malone, Bangor, Westville, Burke, Moira, Constable, Brushton. Dickinson, Hogansburg Akwesasne and Bloomingdale responded to the alarm.

“Everybody did a great job,” Durant said.

County Highway Superintendent Brad Marsh could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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