Nine Fire Departments battle fire at Folk Art Guild over 7 hours

John Christensen The Chronicle-Express

The Rochester Folk Art Guild nearly lost one of its oldest buildings at East Hill Farm when a hot coal fell out of an ash pan and ignited straw insulation below the floor of the guild’s Woodshop Feb. 8.

Nine fire companies responded to 1445 Upper Hill Road, Middlesex. Middlesex Fire & Ambulance were assisted by Rushville, Potter, Benton, Bellona, Penn Yan, Naples, Stanley, and Gorham Fire Depts. According to RFA Guild President Michael R. Hunter, who resides at the farm, firefighters were on the scene for over seven hours, tearing up the floor to douse the fire. Additionally, Crystal Beach was standing by for Rushville and Middlesex, Himrod was standing by for Penn Yan, andBranchport–Keuka Park Fire Dept. was standing by to cover Potter's district.

“Thanks to the remarkable skill and sensitivity of the firefighters, the main structure was not damaged,” says Hunter, adding, “They came from all over the area and worked all that time in the bitterest of conditions. We can’t thank them enough.” Yates County Sheriff’s Deputies reported no injuries.

Guild members built the Woodshop in 1967 by salvaging materials from old barns after purchasing East Hill Farm.

Hunter says the Woodshop will be out of production for several weeks for repairs, but will not affect programs or classes significantly.