An early morning fire Tuesday on Albany Street has been blamed on careless smoking, fire officials said.
Firefighters were called to 1141 Albany St. just before 3:30 a.m. for a report of a fire in an upstairs apartment bedroom, Deputy Fire Chief Scott Doherty said.
Resident Stacey Ellis reported waking up to see fire at the foot of her bed. She tried to put it out herself using water from a sink, but it grew too quickly, Doherty said. She got herself and her three children, ages 2, 6 and 8, out safely, but a dog died in the fire.
An ashtray was found at the foot of the bed, where the fire began. The cause of the fire was careless smoking, he said.
Doherty highlighted Ellis’ attempt to put the fire out herself as a mistake, saying anyone who sees a fire should call immediately call the Fire Department. A fire, he said, can double in size every minute.
“There definitely was time wasted,” he said.
Firefighters arrived and were able to get the fire under control in about 30 minutes, Doherty said, but not before it caused extensive damage to the building’s second floor. A first-floor apartment was vacant.
The building is expected to be able to be rehabilitated, he said. The family, meanwhile, was receiving shelter from the local Red Cross.
The owner of the building is listed as Khem Wattie Ali.
The fire was the second in two mornings in Schenectady and the third in four, ending what had been a period of relative calm for the department, Doherty said.
The causes of the previous two fires remained under investigation.
On Monday morning, firefighters fought a blaze at 873 Strong St. that left the vacant house heavily damaged. And early Saturday, firefighters responded to a fire at 108 McClellan St. Six people were home but all got out safely.
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