Irondequoit, N.Y. (WHAM) - Multiple fire companies extinguished a large fire early Friday morning at a landscaping company in Irondequoit.
Initial reports of smoke and flames came in just after 5 a.m. from Irondequoit Lawn & Landscape on St. Joseph Street.
Flames engulfed two barns on the property. Firefighters from several fire companies and departments worked to keep it from spreading to a third.
The fire was put out by 6:30 a.m.
None of the barns contained any dangerous materials. No one was injured, and the cause is still unknown.
Joe Riesenberger is trying to sort through the mess, but having little luck.
“There’s really nothing salvageable," says Riesenberger. "There’s nothing we can pull out of either barn to use.”
It was early Friday when his phone rang. His son, Jeff, was on the other line.
“It’s very upsetting," he says. "At 5:22, when he called me this morning, he just said, 'Dad, the barn is on fire.'”
Jeff is the owner of Irondequoit Lawn and Landscape, a business his dad says he started from the ground up over 30 years ago.
“He said as soon as he came out of his driveway, the whole flats were lit up," said Joe.
Throughout his years in business, Riesenberger has added hundreds of customers, many of them have become friends. Jill Johnson is one of them.
“When I moved here in 2015, I needed help with everything here," she says. "He’s been great. He and his crew come once a week and they’ve been awesome.”
She was horrified to hear the news Friday morning.
“I was completely shocked and stunned," she said.
So was Irondequoit Town Supervisor David Seeley.
“You never want to see any resident endure this," he says.
Seeley says the Riesenberger family has always given back.
“They’re just a complete embodiment of what it means to be a good member of a community," he said.
Now, Joe says the people they've helped have already reached out to return the favor.
“He’s had competitors down here, saying, 'Jeff if you need anything, give me a call,'" says Joe. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll carry on and he’ll be successful.”
Riesenberger released the following statement Friday afternoon:
Thank you to everyone for your support in dealing with a devastating fire at our company offices in “the Flats” area of Irondequoit. Never in my life did I ever imagine that a fire could travel so fast and be so destructive. With the heroic assistance of St. Paul Fire Department and other neighboring companies, the fire was extinguished. The men & women fire fighters worked with speed and energy the likes of which I have never seen. They are true heroes, and have my utmost respect and appreciation. Irondequoit Police, Fire Marshall, Building Department, Dept of Public Works, and the Town Supervisor all were personally involved.
In spite of an overwhelming loss of property and equipment, I would not trade my financial loss for one injury or loss of life. Everything in life is relative, and objects can always be replaced. I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. In times of crisis, you are lifted by the kindness of those around you. One of our equipment suppliers, Brodner Equipment had our trailers loaded with their own personal equipment by 8 am, and our crews were back in action. Local businesses have offered equipment and anything needed. I am truly humbled..
Once again, thank you to the first responders and the good people of the town of Irondequoit. I have worked tirelessly for 35 years to build a business that supports my family and my employee’s families. It has been an honor to have forged so many relationships over the years. I am blessed to have good health, incredible family, loyal co-workers, and the support of the most incredible clients. It is a privilege to be in business, and to have the opportunity to prosper. We are going to rebuild our structures, replace our equipment - and do it faster and better than ever thought possible! Our doors are open for business, and we look forward to seeing everybody at Invigorate Irondequoit tomorrow morning at 8:30!