Posted at: 09/09/2012 11:38 PM
| Updated at: 09/10/2012 12:18 AM
By: Dan Levy
TROY - When flames broke out just before 6:00 P.M. Sunday evening, none of the neighbors knew for sure if anyone was home at 468 9th Avenue in the Lansingburgh section of Troy. Despite the obvious danger, some of those neighbors knew there was one way to find out.
The extensive damage to the home gives you a pretty good idea just how intense the fire must have been. By the time firefighters had mopped up, it was apparent the house was uninhabitable, but when flames broke out around 5:45 Dorothea and Michael Zuchniewicz had no idea if any of their neighbors, the O'Briens, were inside.
"My husband kicked in the front door and we went in and called their names," said Dorothea, "We just screamed their names and my husband proceeded to go up the stairs and there was dark black, billowing smoke that was making its way down from upstairs."
While Dorothea and Michael were still inside, another neighbor, Troy Fire Captain Kevin Gordon, rushed in.
"We had an off duty firefighter that entered the building, searched the first floor but he wasn't able to get up to the second floor," said Troy Fire Chief Thomas Garrett.
"Kevin Gordon came over and said, "Dorothea, you have to leave, you have to get out," Dorothea explained. "I said, "what if one of the kids is here?" He said, "Dorothea, you have to get out because there's nothing you can do."
As it turned out, there weren't any occupants inside. O'Brien family members returned home while firefighters were still on the scene, a difficult evening for them as well.
"These guys made it up to the second floor and a flash-over occurred," Garrett said. "It blew three of them down the stairs. They're fortunate that they weren't burned."
Another firefighter fell off a ladder and was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. Garrett says he should be fine.
The three firefighters involved in the flash-over continued fighting the fire.
The cause is under investigation and Garrett says it's too early to say if Sunday's fire is connected to the recent rash of suspicious fires in the city.