A Sawkill Fire Department firefighter is expected to make a full recovery after he inhaled toxic fumes after a fire engine battery exploded at the fire station at 896 Sawkill Road, according to department chief David Hoffman.
Hoffman said 35-year-old Captain Mike Williams was starting a fire truck inside the fire station at 10:45 a.m. Saturday as firefighters were preparing to go to the Ulster County Volunteer Firefighters Association Parade in the town of Ulster when the battery exploded, sparking a fire.
Williams inhaled the fumes from the explosion and he was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla in critical condition, Hoffman said.
Hoffman said the fire was quickly put out. Firefighters from the city of Kingston hazardous materials team were called in to assist with containing and cleaning up the battery acid.
Hoffman said Williams condition quickly improved to stable and he was expected to released from the hospital in a few days.
Williams has been a member of the department for more than 10 years, and is also a Mobile Life Support Services paramedic, Hoffman added.
Hoffman said the fire engine will be inspected by a mechanic on Monday.
While the truck is out for repairs, Ulster Hose Fire Company No. 5 is covering with one mutual-aid engine, Hoffman said.
Hoffman said the department’s vehicles are regularly inspected by mechanics and this was a “really rare occurrence.”
Firefighters from Ulster Hose Company No. 5, Ruby, East Kingston, and Woodstock Company No. 4 also assisted at the scene.