SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady Fire Department is probing the cause of a brush fire that engulfed the lawn of a vacant Summit Avenue home and two surrounding properties on Tuesday evening.
The agency responded to a fire call at 546 Summit Ave. at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with 17 city firefighters battling the flames for approximately 90 minutes before the fire was under control.
“It went over about three lawns in the front and in the back,” Schenectady Fire Chief Don Mareno said. “Behind these buildings is an embankment that goes down to Lincoln Heights and that embankment was all on fire.”
A dilapidated garage in the site’s backyard caught ablaze during the incident and was extinguished by the fire department.
“The fire never made it in the house,” Mareno said. “There’s two houses there that are vacant and the fire never made it into any of those houses.”
The fire chief said the department is investigating the origin of the Tuesday fire.
“Obviously there’s nothing mechanical or electrical out there that will cause the fire, so we’re looking at if it was done intentionally or unintentionally,” Mareno said.
Mareno said that the poor air quality that the region is experiencing due to Canadian wildfires does not have an exacerbating impact on fires.
“The lack of rain is what’s causing all of these outdoor fires of varying degrees of intensity,” he said.
Mareno said, after the fire was quelled, firefighters stayed at the scene to ensure that any ensuing hotspots were extinguished.
“It took us a while to put it out because there was so much brush and dead trees,” he said. “It was burning pretty good when we got there.”
The fire was contained in an area where no city residents were living.
“Those houses are abandoned, dilapidated and structurally compromised,” Mareno said on Wednesday. “They probably should have been torn down years ago. But the fire did not damage any of those buildings.”
Contact Ted Remsnyder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @TedRemsnyder.