Schenectady County

Schenectady house fire sends three to hospital

Three people, including a baby, were taken to area hospitals this morning after a fire on Mumford St

Three people, including a baby, were taken to area hospitals this morning after a fire on Mumford Street destroyed their home.

A man was airlifted to Albany Medical Center with burns, while a woman was taken by ambulance with possible burns and a baby was taken for possible smoke inhalation. All three were conscious at scene, and none of the injuries appeared to be life threatening.

Firefighters were called to the home at 543 Mumford St. just before 10:20 p.m. Neighbors reported seeing the fire and hearing at least two explosions — possibly from oxygen tanks inside the home.

Guilliano Amelo and his wife, Farisa, of 549 Mumford St. — three houses from the burning building — were preparing to go to work when they discovered the blaze.

“The lady that’s living there came out running with a baby in her hands,” Guilliano Amelo said. “My wife saw the smoke, the thick smoke coming out of the front door, and she’s like ‘Oh, there’s a fire.’ I told my wife, ‘Call 911,’ so she called.”

Amelo ran to the house and saw another woman come out of the house. He learned there was another person inside and saw a man stick his head out a window on the side of the house on the second floor, about 15 feet off the ground.

“I told him to jump, because he can’t come downstairs, there’s all fire there, you couldn’t get in,” Amelo said. “He crawled out, held on with one hand on the window and he dropped. It was an older guy. When he dropped, I ran down, grabbed him by the hand and I pulled him to the green porch (across the street). By the time I was there, the fire department was already pulling up.”

Firefighters arrived to find flames coming from both the first and second floors. They also had an initial report that the baby was still inside, on the second floor. The baby, in fact, was already outside, but the initial reports prompted firefighters to attempt a rescue, one that couldn’t last long under the conditions, Fire Chief Robert Farstad said.

“The fire was of such a magnitude that they weren’t able to breach the stairs,” Farstad said, noting that word had come by that point that the baby was likely outside. “But anything that was upstairs wasn’t alive. The fire was that bad.”

Paramedics later tended to 4-month-old Genevieve Plath while her mother, Crystal, watched. Crystal Plath was apparently uninjured.

The total number of people inside the home at the time is unclear. Farstad referenced a man about 50 years old and a woman between 50 and 60 going to hospitals. Two men could be seen being tended to on scene. Neighbors also spotted two women coming out, one appearing uninjured.

Firefighters had the fire under control within a half-hour. Grey smoke billowed out, sending a smoky haze down the street on the rainy morning, while firefighters could be seen tossing charred belongings from the second floor, including small cabinets and baby toys.

Barry and Theresa Celeste took refuge in their car. They live near the home, and Theresa came out after someone banged on her door to tell her about the fire.

She was able to get the car from the driveway.

“As I was pulling out, I heard something explode. I went around and saw the door open and everything was on fire,” she said.

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