Fire destroys Waterford apartments

March 27, 2017 07:11 PM

WATERFORD - Ten people are homeless after a stubborn fire raced through a multi-unit apartment building in Waterford.

The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental.

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In firefighter parlance, for several hours Monday, this was a real cooker.

The flames were intense and they got that way in a hurry.

"I got home, the fire was already started," explained Albert Manwaring.

He lived on the second floor. On Monday morning he took his kids to school, came right back home and knew right away he would never live there again.

"I got here. The woman on the first floor ran out and said there was a fire. My first instinct was to run and make sure everybody got out," he recalled.

That's the same instinct Waterford's Deputy Fire Chief Jeff O'Connor had when he was the first to roll up at the scene just after 8:00 a.m.

"I had heavy smoke out a first floor window…got my gear on, by the time I turned around I had heavy flames coming out that window and up the side of the building into the roofline already," described O’Connor.

There within lay the challenge for firefighters. Because the structure dates back to the late 19th or early 20th century, it pre-dates any modern building codes, which means there were no firebreaks built into the framing.

"It was able to travel all the way up the wall, get into the ceiling and this is a flat roof building, so there's a four to five-foot void between the ceiling inside the house and the actual top of the roof line. Once the fire got into that, that's where we had difficulty trying to get the fire knocked down," noted O’Connor.

Because flames were so easily able to reach Albert Manwaring's second floor living space, his livelihood is in serious jeopardy.

"I'm a maintenance person and all my equipment is in there so I don't even know if I'll be able to make money to replace everything," he noted.

With the assistance of the American Red Cross, 10 people, including three children have had to be relocated.

Village officials are already making plans to tear down what’s left of the building.


WNYT Staff

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