Brushfire cleanup efforts underway in Rockland County

Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann spoke to News 12 about how the town plans to recover.

News 12 Staff

Apr 16, 2023, 3:38 PM

Updated 435 days ago

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Cleanup efforts are underway for the multiple brushfires that razed parts of Rockland County.  
Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann spoke to News 12 about how the town plans to recover. He said that town engineers will be talking with the Department of Environmental Conservation to see what kind of cleanup will be required.
“We’ll be working with residents who lost fences and things along their property. The town will be putting out some containers for them to be able to drop their materials," he said.  
Officials say the flames are mostly under control, but firefighters are still working to put out hotspots popping up in the Haverstraw area.  
Although crews are working to get roadways reopened, officials say Route 9W northbound from the Route 304 intersection remains closed due to unsafe conditions.  
“It will be closed well into Sunday. There's debris on the hillside that has to come down. Power lines are being checked out,” said Hoehmann.  
Authorities are also asking any witnesses who may have saw what sparked the fires to contact the Clarkstown Police Department. Claims that the fire was created by sparks from CSX train are also being investigated, according to Hoehmann. 
"We want to be able to get information and have a meaningful discussion with CSX. Frankly, we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.  
The Rockland County Sheriff’s Office made a post on Facebook indicating that they believe sparks from the CSX train may have started the brush fires. The sheriff’s office also thanked the Westchester County Police Aviation Unit for supplying water drops during the ongoing wildfires.  
Although CSX has yet to take responsibility for the fire, they say their legal team has been visiting all the homes that sustained damage.
The Price family, who live in front of the train tracks in Congers, also believe the CSX train is responsible for the fire.
"CSX definitely started that fire. My two sons were out here in the back, and they saw the fire when it happened,” said Raymondo Price.
Despite the destruction caused by the fire, the Price family and other residents are trying to stay positive.
“Everybody comes together for the common good. To save people’s homes, save people’s lives,” said Price. “It was a great thing to see.”


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