Saratoga County

Son tried to save mother killed in Greenfield trailer fire

A 65-year-old woman died in a fast moving mobile home fire Thursday evening in the Alpine Estates Mo
Joe Murphy, right, is distraught upon seeing his home on Lester Lane in Middle Grove gutted by fire Thursday morning.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Joe Murphy, right, is distraught upon seeing his home on Lester Lane in Middle Grove gutted by fire Thursday morning.

A 65-year-old woman died in a fast moving mobile home fire Thursday evening in the Alpine Estates Mobile Home Park on Allen Road in the Greenfield hamlet of Porter Corners.

“It went very quickly,” said state police Investigator Robert Stampfli.

The fire erupted about 6:15 p.m., he said.

The woman, whose name was not released Thursday night, was found in the living room of the older mobile home. Stampfli said the fire caused “very heavy smoke.”

The woman’s son was outside stacking wood when the fire was noticed, police said. “The son made several valiant efforts to get into the trailer, as did a neighbor,” Stampfli said.

Smoke and intense heat kept the two from reaching the woman, he said. The neighbor, whose name was not released, was taken to Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs with cuts on her hands.

It was the second disastrous fire in Greenfield on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, a house under construction was gutted by flames, which consumed everything inside, including the antique church pews that owner Joe Murphy had restored.

Murphy is a carpenter who was doing the home’s interior work at 5 Lester Lane near the hamlet of Middle Grove on Thursday morning, said Gary Gibbins, assistant fire chief for Greenfield Center Fire Department.

Gibbins said the accidental blaze started from ashes from a wood stove Murphy was using to heat the house while he worked. He said Murphy and his wife had not yet moved into the house.

Murphy walked a bucket of ashes through the garage to empty them, and some wayward embers must have ignited wood shavings on the floor, which smoldered without Murphy’s knowledge while he left, Gibbins said.

When Murphy returned about 11:30 a.m., the house was in flames. A neighbor called emergency dispatchers, Gibbins said.

Responding fire departments ran a 5-inch fire hose up the house’s long, narrow driveway to fight the blaze.

Firefighters filled their trucks at a creek off nearby Coy Road and carried the water to Lester Lane.

Gibbins estimated they used 20,000 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze.

“It had a good head start on us,” he said. The garage and part of the attached house were fully engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived.

Part of the garage roof collapsed during the fire.

They spent more than three hours extinguishing the blaze, which gutted the structure.

After 4 p.m., the Middle Grove Fire Department was still on the scene extinguishing hot spots, Gibbins said. Besides Middle Grove and Greenfield Center, firefighters were on the scene from the Porter Corners, Maple Avenue, Rock City Falls, Corinth and Wilton departments.

Gibbins said he wasn’t sure where Murphy and his wife lived, but said they would be staying with neighbors. Gibbins also wasn’t sure of Murphy’s wife’s name. “She was quite upset, which can be imagined.”

The house with gray siding was surrounded by pine trees on a small, quiet rural street sparsely populated with other new homes.

The couple has insurance to cover the loss, he said.

In the later fire, authorities said the victim’s body was taken to Saratoga Hospital for an autopsy to determine cause of death.

Stampfli said he could not comment on police scanner traffic indicating that the woman might have been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The Saratoga County fire investigation team was at the scene Thursday night looking into the cause of the fire, which was not immediately determined.

Stampfli said the mobile home, which was destroyed by the fire, was heated, at least partially, by a wood stove.

Alpine Estates Mobile Home Park is a small park of about two dozen mobile homes, Stampfli said.

At least seven volunteer fire companies were on the scene, including all four Greenfield companies — Porter Corners, Greenfield Center, Middle Grove and Maple Avenue — Hadley-Luzerne, South Glens Falls, and Corinth.

Categories: Schenectady County

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