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Massive Fire Destroys Hudson Valley Car Dealer Being Used As Set For HBO Miniseries

A firefighter battles the intense blaze.
A firefighter battles the intense blaze. Photo Credit: Ellenville Police Department

A massive fire destroyed a Hudson Valley car dealership where HBO was filming a mini-series starring Mark Ruffalo and former Nyack resident Rosie O'Donnell.

The fire started around 12:58 a.m., Thursday, May 9, at 188 South Main Street, in Ellenville at 613 Automotive, said Ellenville Police Chief Philip Mattracion.

The business was being used to film the upcoming mini-series based on the Wally Lamb book "I Know This Much Is True." The movie production company had been filming on Wednesday, May 8 and there were numerous vintage cars on the lot to be used in the film.

When police officers arrived on the scene, they found the building fully engulfed in flames, said Mattracion. 

Ellenville Fire immediately began to battle the fire while calling for mutual aid from several area fire departments, he added.

Firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze for several hours, finally bringing it under control around 10 a.m. Thursday, the chief said.

The scene was turned over to the police department and the building inspectors around 1 p.m., he added.

The building was totally destroyed along with about 20 vintage cars and multiple film equipment that was being used by the production company. Luckily, the car dealer had moved its vehicles off the lot to allow for filming.

In addition, three nearby families had to be relocated due to their proximity to the fire and the intense damage, Mattracion said.

"The amazing thing to come out of this atrocity of disaster is the fact that not one firefighter, law enforcement officers, or civilian were injured in this multi-faceted operation that took place this morning," Mattracion said. 

The chief said 15 fire departments responded to help from Ulster, Sullivan, and Orange counties. Also responding included the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, New York State Police, Ulster County Arson Task Force, Ellenville Water Department, Napanoch Ladies Auxillary, and the Ellensville REscue Squad.

"This is a true testament to the professionalism, training, and dedication that the brave men and women who in the face of grave danger, volunteer to respond and leave their families behind ta moments notice, not knowing whether they will return."

The series filming is a family saga that depicts the parallel lives of identical twin brothers both being played by Mark Ruffalo.

Besides Ruffalo and O'Donnell, the series also stars Ulster County resident and Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo, Kathryn Hahn, and Juliette Lewis.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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