GHENT — A series of events kept six fire companies busy at a Ghent nursing home and solar panel farm Sunday morning.
At about 8:47 a.m., West Ghent Fire Company was sent by Columbia County 911 to Ghent Assisted Living Center after it was reported there was smoke in the area of the kitchen.
When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, they reported there was smoke showing and there was a fire in a rooftop ventilation unit.
Fire officials immediately requested mutual-aid assistance from neighboring fire departments.
Firefighters extinguished the flames quickly in the ventilation unit and cut the electrical power.
As crews worked at that building, other firefighters responded to Ghent Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at 1 Whittier Way after smoke was reported in that building as well.
A third incident in the area brought firefighters to a solar panel farm about a quarter-mile south of the nursing home on Route 66, where a utility building was on fire. Smoke from the solar panel farm fire could be seen from miles away.
Firefighters responded to the solar panel farm to extinguish the fire with the use of dry chemicals.
Some of the residents at the assisted living center were either evacuated or moved during the incidents, according to fire officials on the scene.
Firefighters traced the smoke condition at the Rehabilitation and Nursing Center to the fire at the solar panel farm, West Ghent Fire Chief Art Sherman Jr. said. The air handling system was responsible for pulling the smoke into the building.
Officials at Ghent Rehabilitation and Nursing Center posted a notice following the incident that said all their residents are safe and have been returned to normal activities.
Management at Ghent Assisted Living posted on Sunday that all residents and staff are safe thanks to the quick response of our staff and the fire department.
Crews ventilated both buildings. New York State Electric and Gas was requested to the assisted living center and the solar panel farm.
Fire officials reported that the facility was running on a generator.
New York State Electric and Gas reported on their website Sunday morning that about 75 customers were without power in the area.
It was not immediately clear if the solar panel farm incident and the rooftop air handler fire were related, but an investigation into the incident continues, Sherman said.
Companies that assisted West Ghent were Ghent, Stottville, Stuyvesant, Greenport and Stockport.
Also assisting at the scene were Greenport Rescue Squad, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Columbia County Fire Coordinator’s Office.
All fire companies were back in service at 11:02 a.m.
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