Schenectady County

Yates Village fire displaces four residents

At least four residents were displaced by a fire Sunday that badly damaged a Yates Village apartment
PHOTOGRAPHER:

At least four residents were displaced by a fire Sunday that badly damaged a Yates Village apartment and sent one woman to the hospital with smoke inhalation.

The blaze started in an upstairs bedroom at apartment F5 at about noon in the housing complex off Van Vranken Avenue.

The injured woman was taken to Ellis Hospital by ambulance with smoke inhalation after she ran into the building in an attempt to put the fire out, according to fire officials. Neither her name nor her condition were immediately available Sunday afternoon. Fire officials said they don’t believe she was living in the apartment at the time of the fire.

Officials said at least one child was in the apartment at the time of the fire and said they believe the woman who lives there was outside the apartment when the fire broke out.

Two other children were in or around the apartment at the time of the fire. The children ranged in age from 3 to 14. A man who lived in the apartment was not at home during the fire but returned as crews were still working at the scene. Both he and the woman who lived there were visibly upset during the fire’s aftermath. They were unavailable for comment.

“Right now, we’re trying to put the pieces together,” assistant fire chief Mike DellaRocco said at the scene of the fire. “It’s too soon to assign a cause.”

He said the details will become clearer as fire investigators continue to interview witnesses.

According to DellaRocco, apartment F5 was meant to house two adults and two children. It was unclear if the third child at the apartment on Sunday was visiting or living there, he said.

“I thought somebody was burning something outside,” said a neighbor who witnessed the fire but declined to give her name. “Just a lot of chaos on Father’s Day.”

The woman said she was one of several neighbors to call the blaze in and added that fire crews responded quickly to the scene.

DellaRocco said fire officials will turn the scene over the Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority to clean the apartment after the fire investigation is over.

The apartment is currently uninhabitable and officials will work with the American Red Cross to help the displaced residents find a place to spend the night, he said. The two apartments adjacent to F5 had minor smoke damage, DellaRocco said.

About a dozen neighbors stood outside their apartments on Sunday watching fire crews at the scene. By 1:30 p.m., several children resumed playing in a nearby inflatable pool.

As crews were battling the Yates Village fire, a second call came in reporting a fire on Garner Avenue, according to Schenectady Fire Chief Robert Farstad. Two units were sent from the Yates Village fire to handle the second blaze, he said.

The second fire started in a clothes drier and was quickly contained by crews. Although it only caused minor damage, he said the second fire had the potential to be far worse if crews hadn’t been quickly diverted from Yates Village.

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