Probe into Saturday Schenectady blaze ongoing; Seven people displaced, structure demolished

An employee with Dan’s Hauling and Demolition sprays water on the remaining debris at 1901 State St., Schenectady.

An employee with Dan’s Hauling and Demolition sprays water on the remaining debris at 1901 State St., Schenectady.

SCHENECTADY — Three families were displaced as a result of the city’s third fire within a week’s time.

Seven residents received emergency assistance from the Northeastern New York Chapter of the American Red Cross in the aftermath of a Saturday morning blaze which occurred in the city’s Woodlawn neighborhood. The building at 1901 State St., was deemed unsalvageable and was demolished on Sunday.

No injuries were reported. A bicycle and scooter shop located within the structure was severely damaged.

According to City of Schenectady Fire Chief Don Mareno, the investigation into Saturday’s blaze could last up to two weeks, adding that so far, there’s no sign of any criminal activity.

“Per the owner, there were accelerants in the building — oils, maybe some fuel,” Mareno said. “There were lithium ion batteries and also lead acid batteries.”

The fire department was called in around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Four out of 30 firefighters who responded to the scene went inside the structure to search for and evacuate any residents on the second floor.

“After that, the fire was at a degree where we couldn’t operate inside so it was a defensive attack,” said Mareno, meaning that the blaze was primarily hosed down from outside the 8,800 square foot unit.

Emergency teams fought through plumes of smoke wisping in the closed-off perimeter. While a few firefighters slipped due to hose water freezing on the streets, none were harmed.

The fire was subdued by 2:30 p.m.

“What made this, if anything, easier about this fire is the lack of exposure, so where the building is, there was nothing to the left or to the right,” Mareno noted.

There was a structure behind the building, but it wasn’t threatened.

National Grid temporarily shut the power off in the area in order to avoid causing additional damage from nearby primary lines in front of the fire.

“If they dropped and electrified everything around them, that whole footprint would’ve been electrified and it would’ve caused us a lot of problems,” Mareno said.

There have been around 30 second alarm incidents — fires requiring assistance from two ladder trucks — in Schenectady within 2022. Within a four-day span of the State Street incident, Schenectady firefighters helped put out blazes at Union College and Arthur Street.

None of the fires are related, Mareno said.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.

Categories: News, News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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