An 11-year-old girl was charged with arson by village police after she allegedly set a fire that displaced at least eight residents of a four-apartment building on Sunday.
The house at 653 E. Main St. was heavily damaged in the mid-afternoon fire, according to village officials.
The girl, who was not identified because of her age, lived in one of the apartments with her mother and another child, said village police Sgt. Rich Bialkowski.
The girl used a lighter to set a couch on fire in her apartment, Bialkowski said today.
She was charged with fourth-degree arson, a class E felony, and released in the custody of her mother, under the supervision of the county Social Services Department. The girl is scheduled to appear today before county probation officials for further action.
The American Red Cross assisted two people in another apartment by providing food and clothing, Red Cross spokeswoman Siobhan Gallagher said today.
The Albany-based Red Cross chapter has also reached out to the single mother and two children who lived in the apartment where the fire started, and will provide assistance as requested, Gallagher said. The residents of the apartments have found other places to stay, according to officials.
Two of the apartments were rented to local college students, according to landlord John Mazzone. “I’d like to rebuild,” Mazzone said, “but that depends on what the insurance company says.”
The building, which Mazzone said was about 100 years old, is within the village historic district, so reconstruction must comply with appearance and style standards governed by the Historic District Review Committee, said village Code Enforcement Officer Michael Piccolo.
Mazzone, who lives in the Albany County community of Preston Hollow, said he’s owned the rental property for about four years.
The building has been declared uninhabitable, pending an engineering review, Piccolo said.
Village Fire Chief Richard Cooper said the frame building was fully involved in smoke and flames when he arrived a few minutes after the 2:13 p.m. call came in.
“It’s probably destroyed,” Cooper said. Flames were erupting from the rear of the house and that area was the most heavily damaged, he said.
About 75 firefighters from Cobleskill, Central Bridge and Richmondville were on the scene until about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Cooper said.
The county’s FAST first intervention team was also on scene to assist if any firefighters became trapped or needed assistance, Cooper said. County fire investigators were also called in.
There no injuries reported. Only one of three pet cats believed to have been living in apartment where the fire started was found safe, according to Bialkowski. The fate of the other two cats was not clear today.
More from The Daily Gazette: