Thendara business structure lost to fire; emergency response effort closes Route 28 for over three hours

The Old Forge Volunteer Fire Department responded to a structure fire that engulfed the RPM Snowmobile Rental business on Route 28 in Thendara on Saturday, January 28. 

The call came in at 8:30 a.m., and according to Old Forge Fire Chief Charlie Bogardus the department was assisted by fire personnel from the Eagle Bay and Inlet Fire Companies, with the Woodgate and Otter Lake Fire Departments on standby.

The fire occurred, Bogardus said, when gasoline spilled while Mike Kelly, operator of the business, was working on an ice auger in the attached garage.

Photos by Reed Proper

“When he tried to wipe up the gasoline the fumes came across the floor just as the furnace kicked on and it ignited everything,” Bogardus said.

Kelly suffered minor burns on his hand and was treated at the scene. His wife, Windy, who was also in the building at the time of the fire was uninjured.

It took three hours to bring the fire under control and the building was a total loss, according to Bogardus.

Bogardus said Mike Hunkins of Mike Hunkins Excavating brought his excavator to the scene to help knock down the metal roof so the fire could be extinguished.

The fire forced the closure of Route 28 for three and a half hours, causing traffic to be backed-up for miles. The Town of Webb Police Department assisted with traffic control.

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