HALFMOON – Residents watched, some with tears in their eyes, all in disbelief as dozens of fire crews from several fire departments battled a fire at Mohawk Terrace Apartments in Halfmoon Monday afternoon.
Details on the fire remain unclear. Officials were unavailable at the time of publication.
Apartment complex owner Jean Hoffman declined to comment on the fire, but did say the apartment building had 24 units – two were unoccupied.
Much of the third floor of the building could be seen on fire and the building sustained extensive damage.
Resident Matthew Crosby of apartment 203, which is across the hall and one floor down from where he believes the fire started, said what grabbed his attention was a lot of yelling and screaming.
“I thought our neighbors across the hall were fighting,” he said.
But at 1:15 p.m., he said someone banged on his door and screamed “fire” and “get out.”
By 1:17 p.m., he was outside taking video as the fire made its way through the building and could be seen from outside.
In the short time he was inside he was only able to grab his keys, wallet and phone, having to leave behind two frogs, a hermit crab and some fish. He was thankful his wife, Shannon Crosby, wasn’t home at the time.
Shannon Crosby said she was actually on her lunch break and calling her husband, only to find out the news and rush to the apartment.
At about 3 p.m., the two were still watching as crews continued to battle the fire. They had just moved from an apartment on the top floor that would have been severely impacted by the fire into a lower floor.
“We think we’re fortunate,” he said.
Many others on scene could be heard saying similar sentiments about how material items could be replaced, lives could not.
Christopher Jupin, who lived in apartment 212 – about two floors above where he saw the fire – said he was upstairs in his room when he heard crackling sounds.
“I came outside and ran to the back end of the building and the bottom porch where the fire supposedly started and saw it on fire,” he said.
Jupin said he ran inside to get his 1-year-old cat Tigger but he wouldn’t come. Having no time to grab anything else other than his keys, Jupin said he ran outside.
Now, he’s hoping his cat, which is brown and black with some stripes on its legs, made it out safely.
Matthew Shastany was on his way home when he realized the smoke coming from his apartment complex was his building on fire–where his 13-year-old daughter had been at the time.
“My anxiety was going and I was sick to my stomach,” he said recalling how he felt as he pulled up to the scene. “It’s a dad’s worst nightmare.”
When he arrived he had to find a way in because the road was blocked by fire trucks and police. Once he did he was running around trying to find his daughter, Maliya Shastany.
“She’s shaken up,” he said.
The two had just moved into apartment 223 on April 7.
“I don’t know if it’s salvageable,” he said, noting the only clothes he had left was what he had on and the work clothes in his car.
Andy Morin Jr. and Pierce Petillo of apartment 201 once on scene told officers that they Petillo had ammunition in the apartment to ensure it didn’t make matters worse. They, like others, were shocked to see the units in flames Monday afternoon.
Petillo said he was riding his motorcycle back from Lake George and could see the smoke miles away.
They were hoping to get into their apartment as quickly as possible to see what was still left. The two were actually preparing to move, with their lease up in August. Petillo had found a place.
“Hopefully they’ll allow me to move in earlier,” he said.
Morin was still looking for a new place.