Family gives thanks after holiday blaze
A fire in a Pine Bush farmhouse last Tuesday left a family homeless—and thankful. The single-family house located on Meadow View Farm, owned by Carl and Carol Balbach, caught fire in the early evening, eventually drawing two alarms, six fire companies and about 40 firefighters.
At the time, the men on the dairy farm were milking the cows and Carol Balbach was in the home. She smelled smoke, according to her son Bruce and his wife, Lynn, but couldn’t locate where it was coming from. A neighbor spotted the smoke and told them to call 911.
Balbach was able to get out of the home in time and there were no injuries as a result of the blaze, however the family had to move in with relatives due to damage.
“They’re doing okay,” said Lynn Balbach, who said that while her in-laws had to stay with family last week, they are now home.
According to the family, the 1930s farmhouse, located near the intersection of Route 52 and Fleury Road, sustained damage to the roof, attic and two bedrooms.
The day after the fire Carl and Carol Balbach faced various needs as well as the Thanksgiving holiday—but the community rallied around them before they could begin to worry.
Tri-County Arborist arrived with a bucket truck and covered the roof for the family, while Pine Bush Equipment offered the family the use of a motor home if needed. By Saturday, a 20-person volunteer crew of friends, neighbors and family had descended on the property, cleaning up the damage with the help of Nat’s Cleanup, who donated a dumpster.
When Hannaford staff heard what was going on, they donated hard rolls, cold cuts and drinks for the helpers.
“They’re holding up strong,” said Balbach. “They’re just really, really thankful for all the friends and family that have come and helped them. It could have been so much worse—and they’re thankful it wasn’t.”
The Balbach family was also able to move forward with plans to celebrate the holiday with family.
“They were still able to be thankful,” said Balbach, adding that the outpouring of support and volunteer help was just amazing. “We have a lot to be thankful for.”
Deputy Commissioner Vini Tankasali stated Tuesday that the Orange County Fire Investigators had determined the cause of the fire to be electrical in nature, a malfunction in the wiring.
Firefighters from Coldenham, Walden, Montgomery, Pine Bush, Bullville and Circleville responded to the fire.
By Rachel Coleman