Arrest made in connection with huge Cohoes fire; state of emergency declared

December 01, 2017 11:37 AM

COHOES - An arrest has been made in connection with Thursday’s fire on Remsen Street in Cohoes. John Gomez, 51, is charged with fourth-degree arson and reckless endangerment. He was arraigned Thursday evening. 

Meanwhile, firefighters were remaining on the scene Thursday evening, working to put out any random flare-ups or hotspots. Up to 21 buildings may have been affected according to a fire official.

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Meanwhile, Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse has declared a state of emergency. He says this allows people to call in other cities for other services that are needed.

"We’ll probably be here most of the night if not all night," explained Cohoes Fire Chief Joe Fahd, who was burned himself by an ember. "OFPC is going to be here to start the investigations. It’s winding down here pretty quickly."

The fire broke out Thursday afternoon a little after 2 p.m.

"We have three buildings that are totally gone, absolutely gone," explained Assemblyman John McDonald of Cohoes, who used to be the mayor and also owns a pharmacy business in town.

One man who lives across the street, described the scene to NewsChannel 13's Nia Hamm:

"When I came out here, I've just seen one building engulfed in flames. I've never seen flames like this before. With the wind, it just made it even worse. I've seen it jump from one side of the street to the other side of the street, back to the other side of the street. It just engulfed everything," said the man.

So far, no injuries are reported.

The Red Cross has opened a community shelter for the victims at the Cohoes Community Center. As of early Thursday evening, 10 to 15 people have been helped, but that number may grow.

Click here to see Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse talk about the state of emergency


WNYT Staff

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