Posted at: 09/20/2013 9:47 AM
| Updated at: 09/20/2013 1:11 PM
By: Subrina Dhammi
Flames engulf building 12 at the Fenimore Trace Apartments on 150 Troy-Schenectady Rd.
Brian Storey / WNYT
WATERVLIET - Flames and smoke filled the sky when fire broke out early Friday morning at Fenimore Trace Apartments on Troy-Schenectady Road in Watervliet.
The Red Cross is now helping 14 families, including 22 adults and two children.
Eight residents were rescued. Five people, including a baby, are being treated for smoke inhalation.
The flames were shooting out of the roof of building 12 at the apartment complex.
The call came in at 3:31 a.m. Four minutes later firefighters arrived to find people hanging out of windows on the third floor.
David Schanre lives in the building across the street. He woke up the sound of a woman shrieking for help and the sight of a father dangling his child out the window of an apartment on the third floor.
“He was just dangling his little, I don't know if it was a boy or girl, I heard him say 3 year old, dangling him out. Not to drop him, but to just get him away from the smoke. It was just billowing out right behind him,” Schanre described.
Firefighters from Watervliet and Troy worked fast, using ladders to get to windows on the third floor. They rescued five people in front of the building and three in the back.
“Very bad situation. People could have died here,” Watervliet Fire Chief Scott Skinner said. “The guys all came together and did a great job.”
Police officers and firefighters also ran inside the building and started banging on doors.
In all, 24 apartments were hit by either the flames, the smoke or the water. Two of those apartments were vacant.
The fire chief says the damage to building 12, where the fire started, is extensive. It will likely have to be torn down.
Aniece Lembo has lived in this building for 15 years.
“You just don't expect it to happen to you, I know it's a cliché but you just don't,” Lembo said.
The fire chief says while the cause of this fire is still being investigated. It does not look suspicious. Investigators are still on the scene.