Blaze destroys Amsterdam apartment building

Firefighters were able to save the homes on each side of a structure that caught fire and routed thr

Firefighters were able to save the homes on each side of a structure that caught fire and routed three occupants late Wednesday.

The structure at 242-244 E. Main St., consisting of four apartments, was left in a precarious state and needed to be torn down, Amsterdam Fire Chief Richard Liberti said Thursday.

There were no injuries, but the fire will leave a gaping hole on the north side of East Main Street and left three people looking for another place to live.

The American Red Cross of Northeastern New York went to the scene and later reported providing food, clothing, shelter and other needs to those affected by the fire.

Three of the apartments were unoccupied, and firefighters said three adults were able to get out safely before fire tore through the rear porch in the rear of the two-story brick structure.

Liberti said flames crept into the small attic space, destroying the roof and leaving the first floor teetering on shaky, charred remains.

A total of 22 firefighters were on the scene after the 11:41 p.m. call, spending about four hours putting out the flames. Liberti said two aerial ladder trucks poured water on both sides of the burning structure to prevent adjacent buildings from catching fire.

Firefighters had the fire under control just before 2 a.m.

The cause of fire is under investigation, a probe complicated by the precarious state of the remains — Liberti said fire investigators could not enter the first floor because of the risk of collapse. Amsterdam Battalion Chief Peter McNamara said later Thursday that firefighters were able to get close enough during an investigation to determine where the blaze started, but he said its cause was still undetermined.

By late Thursday, Pareene Trucking & Excavating had the structures torn down to a 10-foot pile of rubble. McNamara said the city was stationing personnel to secure the scene while the investigation continued.

The city has experienced difficulties getting water from its aged hydrants in the recent past, but Liberti said three fire hydrants were ready and accessible for crews to use on Wednesday night, and they had all the water they needed.

The city lost three buildings on Mechanic Street in 2009 after efforts to control a fire set by a youth were stalled by hydrants that didn’t work. An effort to replace dozens of hydrants and other infrastructure began not long afterward.

Categories: Schenectady County

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