Schenectady firefighters called on again for rescue (with photo gallery)

Firefighters saved two people from the second floor of an Emmett Street apartment that caught fire S

Firefighters saved two people from the second floor of an Emmett Street apartment that caught fire Sunday morning — the second such rescue in three weeks.

Fire broke out just before 10 a.m. at 893 Emmett St. “We had two people trapped on the second floor,” Fire Chief Robert Farstad said.

They were unable to get out because of the heavy smoke. When firefighters arrived, there was smoke and flames on the first floor. Firefighters Stephen Helstowski and Ben Yauchler scaled one of the truck ladders to rescue the victims from a second-floor window.

“We got them out of there in the nick of time,” Farstad said.

A dog also was rescued from one of the apartments and had to be revived by firefighters, officials said.

The two people who were rescued and two other residents were transported to Ellis Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries from the fire, which started on the first floor.

About 20 Schenectady firefighters responded to the scene. Farstad credited them for all the work involved in the rescue, whether it was manning the hoses or setting up the ladder.

“This is always a team effort,” he said.

The Niskayuna and Scotia fire departments provided station coverage.

Deputy Chief Mike Gillespie said the investigation is continuing but the fire does not appear to be intentionally set.

The crew was the same one that was on duty for a fire on Jan. 18 on Strong Street, according to Farstad. Helstowski helped rescue a family of two adults and young children from a house at 859 Strong St.

Three families were living at 893 Emmett St, according to Savit Permaul, the property’s owner. Permaul bought the property in 2001 and spent several years fixing it up before renting it out. She said the downstairs tenant just moved in on Friday.

Her son, Kelvin, was living there. Kenrick Permaul said his brother Kelvin suffered smoke inhalation.

“When I got here, they already got him in the ambulance,” Kenrick Permaul said.

The family is not sure if they will rebuild. They were still trying to assess the damage. Farstad said there was heavy damage on the first floor and smoke and water damage on the second floor. The structure could be salvaged, Farstad said. There were no major structural issues.

The American Red Cross of Northeastern New York is assisting three adults and one child with temporary shelter and financial aid for food and warm winter clothing.

Categories: Schenectady County

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