Posted at: 08/12/2012 11:51 PM
| Updated at: 08/13/2012 10:34 AM
By: Dan Levy
TROY - Sunday morning's fire on Sixth Avenue was the latest in a frightening and unsolved series of suspicious fires that have been burning mostly in Lansingburgh and North Central Troy for much of the summer.
One veteran firefighter said he "hasn't seen a pattern of fires like it in a long time." And as burning buildings continue to fall, fear and uneasiness in certain Troy neighborhoods continue to rise.
So far it's been an endless summer of mindless behavior followed by sleepless nights in many sections of Troy.
"I haven't slept in -- going on 24 hours now because of (that fire)," said Jenny Britten, who lives on Sixth Avenue, directly across the street from where four buildings were destroyed by fire Sunday morning.
"I'll be up again probably all night watching those buildings to see if they start up again," Britten said.
Jenny isn't alone. Her next door neighbor Kebrina Cabrera was awake when the latest fire broke out. She and her cousin went around banging on doors and windows to make sure everyone got out.
"This is very unsafe and it's not comfortable at all living on this block," Cabrera said. "You don't know which house is going to be set on fire, suspiciously, next."
But it's not just on their block. In recent weeks there have been several other suspicious fires in the city, including ones on 118th Street, and on 9th Street, where three people had to be rescued by fire truck ladder from a third floor apartment.
"At this moment, I can't tell you (how many fires there have been)," said a visibly weary Troy Fire Chief Tom Garrett. "It's been one after another. They seem to happen on weekends."
Many of the fires are occurring in occupied structures, overnight, when people are sleeping.
A source close to the investigation tells News Channel 13 that fore more than a month now, a cadre of detectives has been working full time on the series of fires, pooling every resource, and double checking every possible motive.
"My kids lived in Lansingburgh over the school year and their house was caught on fire by arson," said Eleanor Alberio of Sixth Avenue. "It's very scary."
"You don't know what's going to happen next," reiterated Kebrina Cabrera. "It's very confusing. It's just crazy."
Residents are also reporting that more and more people are are staying up overnight, camped out on their porches or watching from their windows to make sure everyone is safe.
In addition to the emotional toll on residents, there are also considerable financial ramifications, according to Chief Garrett, who says the fires have been "labor intensive".
Firefighters have had to be called back on overtime. Mutual aid has come from Waterford, Cohoes, Green Island, and Watervliet, where Garrett says overtime costs are piling up as well.