Saratoga County

Woman killed in Halfmoon fire

An elderly woman was killed early Saturday morning when her trailer went up in flames.
The scene of a fatal fire overnight at D & R Village on Route 146 in Halfmoon on Saturday, January 24, 2015.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
The scene of a fatal fire overnight at D & R Village on Route 146 in Halfmoon on Saturday, January 24, 2015.

An elderly Halfmoon woman was killed early Saturday morning when her trailer went up in flames.

The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department identified the woman as 77-year-old Patricia Medaglia, who lived alone and was disabled.

Clifton Park fire Chief Art Hunsinger said crews received the call at 1:39 a.m. and arrived at the D&R Village, a trailer park on Route 146 in Halfmoon, minutes later.

En route to the fire, crews were alerted that a disabled elderly woman was inside, he said. They arrived to find the rear of the home fully engulfed, with flames shooting out of the windows, he said.

“Multiple attempts were made to try to get inside to see if we could find her, and unfortunately, due to the amount of heat and fire, we were all pushed back,” the fire chief said.

Medaglia was unable to escape and was killed in the fire, Hunsinger said.

“Our prayers and condolences go out to her and her entire family,” he said. “We always wish we could have done more.”

The fire was brought under control by 2:20 a.m., and crews found Medaglia’s body sometime after while they were dousing hot spots and searching the building, Hunsinger said. Saratoga County Coroner Thomas Salvadore pronounced Medaglia dead at the scene, and an autopsy performed at Saratoga Hospital ruled her death accidental and caused by severe thermal burns and inhalation of heated products of combustion, sheriff’s deputies said.

A firefighter sustained a minor injury while battling the blaze and was treated at the scene by Clifton Park-Halfmoon EMS, deputies said.

Investigators from the Sheriff’s Department, the Saratoga County Cause and Origin Team and the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control determined the fire to be accidental, caused by an overloaded electrical circuit in Medaglia’s bedroom.

Neighbor Michael Blair, 22, said he was woken up by his stepfather at 2 a.m. and went outside to see flames shooting through the mobile home’s roof.

Blair said he didn’t know the woman, but he knew she had a caretaker.

“If I was up any earlier, I would have tried to go in and help the lady, but that’s not how it went,” he said as he shoveled snow off his driveway Saturday morning. “It’s just tragic.”

Hunsinger said the Clifton Park Fire Department is going through the process of counseling responding firefighters. Fatal fires are uncommon for the department; there have now been three during his 32 years there, he said.

“It’s tough on everybody,” he said. “Obviously the human side of everybody kicks in. We have a job to do, which is put the fire out, but we also save lives, and when you can’t save that person and get them out, it just winds up being what it is, a fatality, and it hits some people.”

The Sheriff’s Office, State Police and fire crews from West Crescent, Halfmoon, Mechanicville, Jonesville, Vischer Ferry, Hillcrest, Round Lake and Boght Corners also responded. The mobile home is a total loss.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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