The aftermath of the fire that affected unit 1307 and its neighbors (Photo by Ginny Privitar)
CHESTER — A big fire broke out in the Whispering Hills community in Chester in the early evening on Friday. Several local fire companies responded to the scene, near the first pool beyond the West Avenue entrance. The fire started in unit 1307, according to Chester Fire Chief Pat McKevitt. He said late Friday that the investigator was still trying to determine the cause of the fire. Some Whispering Hills residents who approached the fire on the main road said they saw flames shooting from a roof at about 6:30 p.m. It appears two garage units and a residential unit above were burned. Reports say the fire melted the siding of one building and some of the siding of an adjacent building. Thick black smoke poured from the roof and later turned gray. The fire seemed under control, but after about 15 minutes, flames could be seen darting through the opposite end of the roof. Firefighters broke windows and entered different residences. They brought a hose inside one residence, and soon thereafter three firefighters appeared on the roof. There was the sound of an electric saw cutting through the roof. A neighbor said she talked to a man who said he was coming home from work when he noticed smoke coming out from under a garage. He told her he was able to pull the garage door up a bit, and that a lot of smoke came out. He further said he kicked on all the garage doors and roused the neighbors who were home. No person seems to have been hurt. There may have been pets inside the affected buildings. A neighbor is heard on a video played on NBC saying, "My cats are in there." Former Village of Chester trustee Carole Duffy posted on Facebook: "There was a plan for an emergency route through Goshen where the new homes were built near clubhouse 2 and the water tower — there was to have been a road available for use in emergencies. Apparently it has not come to be. This is an example of need." This story has been updated with new information, and will be further updated as more information becomes available.