The alarm went out for a large fire in the rear of IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown on Saturday morning. Reports of a raging fire and people trapped brought a dual response from the Yorktown and Millwood Fire Departments.
"This is a drill," the dispatcher said.
Upon arrival, a second alarm was sounded as the simulated fire began to spread throughout the loading dock area and the site's primary water source, a large-diameter New York City water line, was compromised.
Firefighters from Bedford Hills, Pocantico Hills, Croton, Continental Village and Somers made up a Tanker Task Force bringing thousands of gallons of water to the site where it was dumped into portable pools as the tankers shuttled back and forth to bring a steady water supply to the scene.
IBM's Emergency Response Coordinator David Raines, a safety engineer at the facility, said the site holds annual drills with area departments but that today's drill was their first multi-alarm scenario.
"It gives the various departments the oportunity to work together and become familiar with our site and enables us to test our response to a variety of situations. We're conducting Haz Mat evolutions, confined space operations, FASTeam rescues and tanker shuttles in addition to firefighting," he said.
The incident developed into a hazardous materials incident as well bringing the Montrose VA fire department to the scene and a mayday call for firefighters trapped put the Ossining Fire Department FASTeam into action searching for and rescuing the trapped men.
The Buchanan fire department supplied air to refill the firefighter's air bottles. Firefighters from Lake Mohegan and Mount Kisco also participated.