The day after: Assessing the damage

December 01, 2017 04:57 PM

COHOES - It's a disaster spread out over three blocks of Cohoes. Authorities say it's an arson - but an accidental tragedy. Thirty-one buildings are affected in some way.

NewsChannel 13 has been on the scene since the fire broke out Thursday afternoon.

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Mayor Shawn Morse says this is the worst tragedy in the city's history.

On one side of Remsen Street you have fire damage. On the other you have smoke and water damage from firefighters trying to stop flying embers from starting a blaze across the street. Three of those buildings were a total loss.

There is a lot of devastation to see.

The fire stated at 228 Remsen Street on Thursday. Police say 51-year-old John Gomes was allegedly trying to forge a sword out of a fire he started in a burning barrel. Thirty mile per hour wind gusts carried that fire from building to building.

By the evening, Gomes was charged with 4th degree arson and 1st degree reckless endangerment.

The Office of Fire Prevention and Control is now investigating.

Cohoes is still under a state of emergency as crews prepare to clean up the streets and sidewalks.

Meanwhile, at least part of the street has reopened to allow some businesses in the area to return to normal, including a pharmacy, flower shop and funeral home.


WNYT Staff

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