People stealing scrap metal appear to have caused at least two fires at a former NYSEG power plant near Johnson City.
The most recent blaze at what once was known as Goudey Station in Westover occurred around 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Authorities say the fire was reported by Johnson City water and public works department workers who spotted smoke coming from behind a building at the old generating complex.
Would-be thieves apparently started the fire as they tried to burn insulation off some copper wire. The blaze was extinguished after about 15 minutes. No injuries were reported.
One person was seen running from the town of Union property at the time of the fire. A state trooper who was sent to investigate did not see anyone nearby.
According to state police, another fire had been reported at the site on February 19 but no one was located in the area.
Troopers were asked to do a "property check" after that fire but they did not observe any suspicious activity.
Demolition work started last summer at the site in preparation for the possible development of a solar farm. A Massachusetts-based entity acquired the site for $1 million in December 2020.
The property is located just outside Johnson City. Village police chief Brent Dodge said scrap thieves have been caught on surveillance video hauling metal away from the site. He said they left the area using a path north of Boland Park.
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