Saratoga County

Princess Drive residence suffers heavy fire damage

p>Six fire departments battled a house fire of unknown origin Monday afternoon that heavily damaged
A Vischer Ferry firefighter breaks through an upstairs window at a home on Princess Pine Drive in Clifton Park Monday. A fire consumed the structure.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
A Vischer Ferry firefighter breaks through an upstairs window at a home on Princess Pine Drive in Clifton Park Monday. A fire consumed the structure.

Six fire departments battled a house fire of unknown origin Monday afternoon that heavily damaged a residence at 9 Princess Drive.

No one was injured in the intense fire that caused the roof to collapse, but a Vischer Ferry Fire Department firefighter was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. One of the first to arrive on the scene, the firefighter was stricken while moving hoses and other apparatus onto the property. The Vischer Ferry fire police member, Dave Beatty, a 20-year veteran with the squad, was revived enroute to Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, where he was listed in critical condition Monday night.

“He responded well to treatment, and so far so good,” Fire Chief Ronald Bruzdzinski Jr. said. “But we clearly need to take it one step at a time.”

Homeowner Michelle Rafferty said she was not in the house, but her adult son and their pet dog were inside when the fire started. They were able to escape uninjured after calling 911 at 1:45 p.m. Fire officials also received calls from several neighbors in the development, known as Tremont Woods, who reported smelling smoke.

The dark gray house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived about 10 minutes after the first call was received. The smoke was so thick that it obscured the rain clouds that hung above the house.

“At least 50 percent of the roof was involved when we got here,” Bruzdzinski. said. “We found the occupant and his pet outside on the lawn, and we immediately started an internal central fire attack. It was a large and fast fire, with the majority focused on the western end of the first floor.”

Neighbors clustered under the cover of pine trees in the steady rain to watch the black smoke billowing from the roof, and, by 2:30 p.m., damage was clearly visible in the home’s second floor, as well.

Besides Vischer Ferry, units on the scene included Jonesville, West Crescent, Halfmoon, Rexford and Clifton Park. Due to the large size of the fire, both Round Lake and Ballston Lake Fire Departments remained on standby throughout the afternoon.

Neighbor Mercy Patacsil, who lives on Bittersweet Lane next to Princess Drive, said she wasn’t aware of the fire until she heard the sirens.

“I thought it was a car accident, and then when I smelled smoke, I thought it was my laundry,” Patacsil said. “Thank God everyone is safe and it’s raining. Last week it was so hot that, with any winds, the fire could have spread and been far worse.”

Bruzdzinski estimated Rafferty’s house is about 15 years old.

Bruzdzinski could not confirm whether any interior alarms went off.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Saratoga County Fire and Origin Team.

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