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Insurer sues firefighters for starting firehouse fire

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An insurer is suing members of the Goldens Bridge Fire Department in Westchester, New York, for allegedly starting a fire in 2014 that caused $9 million in damages to its two-story brick firehouse.

According to the New York Post, firefighters were alleged to have been careless in repairing the department’s 1998 Chevy Suburban in the station’s garage. The suit, filed by Arch Insurance Co. in a Manhattan federal court on Friday, claims repairs were done in a “reckless, negligent and careless manner” while the vehicle was parked in the firehouse, where the vehicle sparked an electrical blaze. 

The suit also states that the all-volunteer department had left a self-closing fire door propped open, allowing the inferno to travel up a stairwell to the second floor, according to the Post.

“Had defendant executed due and proper care in the use, maintenance, operation and control of its vehicles, equipment and the fire station bays, the accident complained of would not have occurred,” Arch alleged in its suit.

No one was hurt in the fire, according to media reports.

“My understanding is that they are trying to recover the money they already paid out through a subrogation claim,” Goldens Bridge Fire Chief Ed Brancati told the Post, adding that he doubted the suit would be successful. “It’s a volunteer fire department that has an insurance policy with a dollar limit. I’m not going to say what it is, but you can’t get blood from a stone.”