Shelter-in-place order lifted as fire crews remain at solar farm fire

Solar farm fire
Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 5:57 AM EDT
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CHAUMONT, New York (WWNY) - Fire crews remained on the scene overnight as a chemical fire burns at a solar farm near Chaumont.

It’s on County Route 179 in the town of Lyme, just outside the village.

It started around 1 p.m. Route 179 remains closed from State Route 12E to State Route 12.

Blue flames could be seen burning at the scene around 9 p.m. Thursday.

Because of the smoke coming from the flames, residents within a one-mile radius of the fire were told to shelter in place for about four hours. The shelter-in-place order was lifted around 9 p.m.

Joe Plummer, director of Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Management, says batteries are burning but readings were done that determined toxic fumes are not spreading into the surrounding area.

“Contain the fire from spreading to anywhere else rather than putting the fire out because the type of fire that it is, batteries, you can’t really put the batteries out,” Chaumont Fire Chief William Lipczynski said. “The batteries themself will burn out. It will probably take five or seven days. It will be at a safe level where we don’t have to worry about a big fire again or a big event.”

In a statement Thursday night, Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state has committed resources to help.

“A large battery fire in Jefferson County has caused significant damage and is emitting large amounts of smoke that may pose health risks,” she said. “I have directed all necessary state agencies to provide assistance to local and county officials and have deployed state personnel from the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Fire Prevention and Control to the site.

“I urge all members of the local community to follow public health guidance to protect themselves and their families and avoid exposure to smoke or other toxins. We will continue monitoring developments out of Jefferson County and are committed to helping this community address the ongoing situation.”

The solar farm is owned by Convergent Energy.