Huge fire destroys Rensselaer home
May 21, 2019 06:22 PM
RENSSELAER - A ferocious fire destroyed a two-family home in Rensselaer on Tuesday.
Flames spread quickly through the house on Broadway - and a neighbor helped get an upstairs resident out.
Investigators were inside later in the day on Tuesday, working to figure out the cause of the fire.
The flames spread quickly and they were ferocious.
Neighbor Camille Gibeau, who lives across the street, captured the flames early on, on video.
Neighbor Camille Gibeau shared this video of a house fire on Broadway in Rensselaer. pic.twitter.com/a148QzTWlW— Kumi (@KumiTuckerWNYT) May 21, 2019
Another neighbor, Tom Edick, first noticed smoke and flames coming out the front window, then saw the upstairs resident still inside.
"I yelled to her to 'get the hell out of the house.' And then, minutes later, the air conditioner in the bottom right window exploded. Eight foot flames shot up through the windows in the house," he said.
She was able to get out of the two-family home safely.
Another neighbor, Michael Masias, did what he could with a hose before making sure the pets next door were evacuated to safety.
"It was in that one window, and even though I was spraying it with a garden hose, which again, wasn't going to do too much, it started to spread very, very quickly," he said. "Once I saw black smoke coming out, I knew immediately that it had hit the ceiling, so I said there's not much more I'm going to be able to do. So that's when I went in to get the dogs."
Firefighters say one challenge they faced was manpower. Rensselaer Fire is a combination of career and volunteer firefighters - and they called for mutual aid right away.
Another challenge was the wind.
"The wind comes off the Hudson River here, which is extremely strong. That just helps fuel the fire," said Jay Wilson, the Rensselaer County Director of Public Safety. "That's what we have problems with, trying to keep that fire not blowing to the other houses. This thing literally went from the front of the building to the back of the building real quickly, because we had heavy fire in the back of the building when we arrived."
Edick was concerned the fire would spread through the row of houses.
"It raged in seconds. I got a new respect for flames and fire now. It moved so fast through the house," he said.
Residents here are praising firefighters for stopping the flames from spreading to other buildings.
The Red Cross says they're helping five people after the fire - three adults and two kids.
Updated: May 21, 2019 06:22 PM
Created: May 21, 2019 11:47 AM
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