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Briarcliff Garage Won't Be Rebuilt After Fire

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Cleanup crews set to work this week removing debris left from the old maintenance garage at the Brandywine Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center that burned down last week in Briarcliff Manor.

Brandywine officials said Thursday the maintenance garage would not be repaired or rebuilt. The 5,000-square-foot building burned down on Oct. 4 after a lightning strike reportedly hit during evening storms, village fire officials said. The garage had been abandoned and no one was injured in the fire, according to village officials.

The estimated cost of the damage is unknown, said Lisa Kelly, a spokesperson with FocusMedia representing Elant Management.

“The building has been totaled and will be demolished,” Kelly said Thursday in an email to The Daily Voice. “Elant does not plan to rebuild.  After the demolition is complete, the grounds will be reseeded with grass seed and the space will be left vacant.”

On the night of the blaze, firefighters were not able to connect to an out-of-service fire hydrant next to the maintenance garage and instead had to connect to a municipal hydrant more than 700 yards away. The New York state fire code requires that private fire hydrants be maintained by the property owners, and it also requires regular testing, maintenance and inspection. After learning of the faulty hydrant in February 2010, Briarcliff Manor officials informed representatives of Brandywine and advised them of the state fire code, according to village records.

“Would anything have been saved if they had done what they were supposed to do? I’m not going to conjecture,” said Briarcliff Manor Village Manager Philip Zegarelli previously. “Was there a problem initially of fighting the fire with adequate water? Yes. They did their darnedest with what they could.”

The pipe that supplies the private hydrant reportedly broke after freezing, Daniel Matarainen, Brandywine’s director of environmental services, said in an emailed response to the village in February 2010.

“It is running in the basement below the garages (where) there is no heat. We are trying to repair without it breaking again,” Matarainen wrote in the email. “We will hold harmless the Village of Briarcliff Manor, in the event of any damages or injuries (due) to fire.”

Kelly said Thursday she was unaware of the issues with the hydrant, but added that she and Brandywine officials would discuss the matter at a later date.

Zegarelli said previously there are dozens of private fire hydrants around the village, but he did not know if records were kept on whether the hydrants are in service. Out of about 600 municipal hydrants throughout Briarcliff Manor, Zegarelli said, four are currently out of service.

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