Structure Fire Destroys Historic Sparta Train Station
Monday, September 3, 2012 • 4:27pm
SPARTA, NJ - The investigation continues today into an early morning fire that has completely destroyed the 130-year-old Sparta Train Station. At 3:49 am, a motorist traveling north on Rte. 15 Spotted the flames from the highway. Sparta patrols arrived on scene three minutes later and reported the building completely engulfed.
Firefighters from the Sparta and Ogdensburg Fire Departments battled the blaze for approximately an hour and a half before finally clearing from the scene at 7:20 am. One firefighter from Ogdensburg suffered from heat exhaustion and was treated at the scene by the Ogdensburg First Aid Squad. No other structures were damaged as a result of the fire. Rail service for The New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad Line was disrupted for approximately three hours until the scene could be made safe.
This is an open investigation and no determinations have been made as of yet. Sparta Det. Sgt. John Schanstra and Det. Jason Garrigan of The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Unit are investigating.
The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad built Sparta Station in 1882. It served numerous dairy farms and Sparta’s own Ideal Creamery Company. Sparta’s mail was delivered by train to the station. Everything from coal, ice and cement arrived at the station for delivery to the residents of early Sparta.
Before this morning’s fire, Sparta Station was the last station left of the 15 that were built by NYS&W in Sussex County. Its water tank (which is still standing) is the only one left in the county and one of the few left in the state. It was unaffected by the fire.
The area in which the train station was located has been going through a rebirth after years of neglect. The adjacent property was part of the A.O. Polymer Superfund site. The property was sold by the Environmental Protection Agency to Station Holdings, LLC. On February 19, 2009. This property now houses the brand new state of the art Sparta Police Athletic League Building. The Train Station which is also owned by Station Holdings, LLC was currently being renovated and just had a new roof and other repairs were under way.
Further details on this story will be provided when available.
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