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Minor Fire At Camp Pool Pump House Sparks Hazardous Material Scare

Firefighters say small fire in electrical panel at Camp Ramah building produced white smoke that they at first feared might be a chlorine leak.

Smoke from a small fire in the electrical panel of a summer camp's pool pump house in Valley Cottage sparked fears of a possible chlorine leak this morning, according to volunteer firefighters.

However, the smoke turned out to be from the electrical panel and there was no chlorine leak at Camp Ramah, 320 Christian Herald Road. Valley Cottage Fire Chief Jeff Sherman said children who attend the camp and use the pool adjacent to Nyack High School had not yet arrived and there was no danger to them or camp staff.

No one was injured, Sherman said.

A camp cook spotted the smoke from the one-story pump house shortly after 8 a.m. Sherman said that when he arrived at the camp a few minutes later he immediately spotted whispy, white smoke coming from the structure and he feared a chlorine tank in the building could have been leaking.

Sherman said he called for Rockland County's hazardous materials unit to help him confirm whether there was a cholorine leak. He said firefighters discovered the fire was in the electrical panel and the nearby chlorine tank was not affected.

In addition to calling in the hazardous materials team, Valley Cottage firefighters called in an Orange and Rockland Uilities crew to shut down power to the affected area of the camp. Clarkstown police and fire inspectors and Rockland County Health Department inspectors were also called to the camp as a result of the fire.

The firefighting efforts and investigation closed Christian Herald Road from Nyack High School to Route 9W until about 9:30 a.m. About 45 volunteers firefighters were involved, including more than 20 from the Nyack Fire Department. A crew from Nyack-Valley Cottage Volunteer Ambulance Corps was also at the camp in case of injuries.

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