Six firefighters have been injured while containing an inferno that engulfed the Pearl River Shopping Center and is still partially burning at time of publication. At around 12 P.M. on Sunday, a fire that broke out at RISE (Rockland’s Indoor Shooting Education) kept firefighters from two dozen fire and EMS departments busy all day and well into the night. More than 24 hours later, the fire continued to reignite, as first responders struggled to discover the source of the inferno. By Monday morning, the fire was deemed “contained” while several hot spots continue to burn.
Pearl River Fire Chief James Morrison says the fire also affected stores near the gun range. The fire spread through the ceiling and caused smoke damage to the Dollar General Store and Dunkin’ Donuts shop located above RISE, which occupies the basement of the strip mall. First responders have had to drill into the floors of each store in an attempt to locate and extinguish the source of the flame. By the time the fire was contained, both stores were demolished, though the rest of the complex suffered only minor smoke damage.
The situation was eventually deemed so hazardous that first responders chose to partially demolish the roof of the complex in order to ventilate the building and allow the fire to burn itself out. Local fire crews were forced to fight the blaze externally, as the thousands of rounds of ammunition stored inside RISE, and their risk of detonating, presented too much of a potential hazard to send crews into the building.
The injured firefighters were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation and are in stable condition.
The Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, its Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Arson Unit were assisting in the investigation into the cause of the blaze and the Orangetown Building Department and Orangetown and Rockland Highway Departments also assisted.
Assisting Pearl River firefighters were Hillcrest, Monsey, Nanuet, New City, Nyack, Orangeburg, Suffern, Tallman, Tappan, West Haverstraw, West Nyack, South Spring Valley, Thiells, Montvale, Rivervale, Mahwah, Piermont, Sparkill, Oradell, Rockland County Hazmat, Rockland Technical Rescue, Westchester Technical Rescue, Pearl River Ambulance, South Orangetown Ambulance, South Orangetown Rehab Unit, William P. Faist Ambulance, Spring Hill Ambulance, Congers Ambulance, and Rockland Mobile Care. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.