HINSDALE — A potentially catastrophic fire at the Hinsdale American Legion Friday morning was nipped in the bud when roofers used a fire extinguisher and garden hose to quell a fire sparked by a torch.

Hinsdale Fire Chief Kelly Karst said “quick action by the roofers limited damage” to the older wood-framed structure. The alarm was sounded soon after 7 a.m.

“I saw a lot of smoke when I pulled up and Hinsdale and Westons Mills were dispatched to the scene,” Karst said.

Soon after that, Allegany and the Town of Olean fire departments were dispatched.

The fire chief said the roofers were using a torch that apparently generated enough heat to ignite a highly flammable insulation in the rafters in the structure away from the main part of the building with the bar and restaurant area.

A state trooper was en route to the American Legion after an interior alarm was tripped when a ceiling tile fell to the floor. Firefighters were alerted after a Legion member with a key to the clubhouse arrived to see smoke coming from the roof.

“We had a good turnout from Hinsdale and mutual aid departments,” Karst said.

The roofers knocked the fire down with a fire extinguisher and a garden hose, the chief said. Firefighters pulled down some interior ceiling tiles to make sure the fire hadn’t spread to other parts of the wooden framing.

“It had the potential to become a catastrophe,” Karst said. “The farming is old and dry.”

The American Legion was expected to be open for its Friday night fish fry.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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