Schenectady County

Rotterdam apartment fire leaves nine homeless

Nine residents — including four young children —l were left homeless after an accidental fire ripped

Nelson Travis grabbed a soot-stained picture frame and smudged its blackened center with his thumb to reveal the beaming smile of his 10-year-old son.

Beside him on the lawn at 1257 High Bridge Road stood an antique side table he had intended to restore and a pair of his son’s Rotterdam Little League trophies, all darkened by the choking black smoke that filled his apartment late Sunday.

“This is pretty much what is left,” said Travis, gesturing to a small cluster of furniture, pictures and keepsakes rescued from his badly damaged apartment. “And all this, I don’t know if it can be salvaged.”

Travis was among nine residents — including four young children — left homeless after an accidental fire ripped through the second floor of the four-unit apartment building. County fire investigators determined the blaze was touched off in a kitchen on the second floor and resulted from cooking.

Though the flames were knocked down about 15 minutes after firefighters arrived, the blaze completely destroyed one apartment and badly damaged another. County Fire Coordinator John Nuzback said fire spread from the kitchen and through the building’s back porch by the time crews arrived.

“There was a pretty good volume of the fire when we got there,” he said.

Though most of the damage was contained to the second floor, the first-floor apartments sustained both smoke and water damage. Nuzback said the building was considered uninhabitable and all four apartments were ordered vacated.

“It’s salvageable, but they can’t live there until it gets redone,” he said Monday. “It’s going to be a while before it’s all cleaned up.”

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