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Fire Chief Killed in Silo Explosion

Fire Chief Killed in Silo Explosion

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Watertown Daily Times via YellowBrix

April 12, 2010

SACKETS HARBOR, NY — An assistant fire chief with the Sackets Harbor Fire Department was killed Sunday morning when a silo at North Harbor Dairy exploded after it caught fire.

Garrett W. Loomis, 26, Sackets Harbor, was among members of the department responding Sunday to the County Route 75 farm because of a reported silo fire. The farm was the location of a barn fire Thursday night in which 104 cows were killed.

A news release provided by Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Management Director Joseph D. Plummer states Mr. Loomis was standing on the silo at the time of the explosion. Mr. Plummer did not elaborate about the events leading up to the explosion.

Mr. Loomis was taken by Guilfoyle Ambulance to Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, where he was pronounced dead. No other firefighters were injured in the explosion.

“On behalf of the Jefferson County sheriff’s office, I would like to offer our condolences to the entire Loomis family as well as their extended family, the Sackets Harbor Fire Company,” Lt. Michael J. Peterson said in a prepared statement.

Mr. Loomis was a 2001 graduate of Sackets Harbor Central School, where he played baseball, basketball and soccer, according to Times records.

He was a career firefighter with the Fort Drum Fire Department and was elected to the assistant fire chief position of the Sackets Harbor department last Tuesday.

“I know that I am safely speaking for the entire Fort Drum community of soldiers, families and civilians when I say that this is a tragedy that touches us all and that our thoughts and prayers are, and will be, with the family of firefighter Garrett Loomis,” wrote Garrison Commander Col. Kenneth H. Riddle in a prepared statement. “This incredible young man dedicated his life, and ultimately gave his absolute all, pursuing a better, safer place for his community and neighbors.”

Sunday afternoon, about a dozen members gathered at the Fire Department’s North Broad Street building.

Mr. Loomis is survived by his parents, Gary A. and Amy Loomis, and brother Bryan D. The elder Mr. Loomis is a justice for the town of Hounsfield.

During a Sunday afternoon press conference, Mr. Plummer said emergency crews have been dispatched sporadically to the North Harbor Dairy farm to quell small fires.

Thursday night’s blaze destroyed the 10,080-square-foot barn, which was built in 1936.

Damage to the property was estimated to cost $285,000 prior to the explosion Sunday. The property is insured.

The owners, Ronald C. and Nancy M. Robbins, whose farm operation also includes Old McDonald’s Farm on County Route 145, have vowed to rebuild.

On Sunday afternoon, smoke still rose from the rubble. Also responding to the scene were the Smithville Fire Department, town of Watertown Ambulance, state Department of Environmental Conservation officials and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies.