Last week’s deadly fire on Jay Street has now officially claimed four lives, as officials report two more bodies recovered inside the buildings today.
Schenectady police Sgt. Matthew Dearing said one body had been recovered in the morning and one in the afternoon inside 104 Jay St. Both were turned over to a medical examiner for identification and cause of death.
How long that will take, he said, depends on the conditions of the bodies.
“There were some that were recovered this week, the turnaround was one day on it, and there were some that were recovered earlier in the week that took a little bit longer,” he said.
The two victims found earlier in the week were identified as 59-year-old Harry Simpson, a resident of 104 Jay St., and 37-year-old Jermaine Allen, who police said was a visitor in the building.
Dearing did not say on which floors the bodies were found.
The fire broke out in the early morning hours of March 6 at 104 Jay St., spreading to 100-102 Jay St., sending seven people to the hospital and displacing 60. A cause has not yet been determined.
The Schenectady Police Department, Schenectady Fire Department, and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been slowly taking the buildings apart since the fire, using a crane to remove debris and sifting through it on the ground.
The unstable conditions of the buildings have slowed recovery efforts, said Dearing.
“It is a slow process,” he said. “They have to carefully go through everything that’s in there to maintain the integrity of the building, the structure of the building, and for their safety inside.”
He said the investigation could take “a few more days.” Complete demolition will begin after the investigation is complete.
Several residents were unaccounted for after the fire, and Dearing said more victims could still be discovered as the investigation continues.
“Obviously, it’s a very pressing time for [families of the missing],” he said. “That’s why we’re trying to do this in as timely a manner as we can. It is unfortunate what happened here and we’re trying to get them answers as quick as we can.”