City Fire Chief Thomas Groff described the results of the early morning house fire at 213 S. Main that has displaced 10 people as a “total loss,” during his report to the Common Council Tuesday night.
“I’ve been at that all day today,” Groff told the council. “It was a little bit of a challenge. We did determine the cause to be an electrical issue in the house. There were several issues of that nature in the house. It was a two-family house. It had a lot of electrical outlets.”
Firefighters were called to 213 S. Main St. just after 1 a.m. for a fire at the residence. Fire officials said they arrived to find the rear of the home well-involved with fire and the fire then extended into the first-floor apartment and rear stairwell and eventually into the second-floor apartment and attic.
In a news release Tuesday fire officials said there were 10 people living in the building, all present at the time of the fire, three who lived downstairs and seven upstairs.
Gloversville firefighter Zach Angus and Johnstown Captain Brian Miller conducted the primary search at the scene, while Captain Joe Gillis and Firefighter Brandon Paul attempted to knock down the main fire in the rear of the building.
All ten escaped injury, all ten were also being assisted with lodging provided by the Red Cross, according to fire officials.
“The building sustained extension damage,” Groff said. “It’s in really rough shape. The building was probably questionable before the fire, but with all the damage it sustained it should be torn down.”
Groff said he took action Tuesday to start the demolition process of the building.
“I moved to get some bids, to get some contractors in this afternoon,” he told the council. “I got four contractors to come in and look at it this afternoon.”
Groff said the lowest qualified bidder was a company called “Jackson Demolition.” He said because the removal of the debris from the scene is considered an emergency by the Fulton County landfill, the $100 per ton tipping fee for debris from the site will be waived.
Mayor DeSantis asked Groff if the owner of the building had insurance.
“There’s significant insurance, and we should pursue that when we can, but will we have to be aggressive, if we can, ” Groff said. “The building is in rough shape. I think you all know where it is down there on South Main. The building is severely damaged. The owner doesn’t agree with me, but I think he would agree that no matter what it’s not salvageable.”
Groff said state inspectors will be doing asbestos monitoring at the site Wednesday and Jackson Demolition will take down the building on Thursday.