Fire that apparently broke out in the attic of a Schenectady Street home caused significant damage to that home Wednesday night.
Fire broke out at about 8:45 p.m. in the attic of a house at 511 Schenectady St. Resident Edward Bates was on the first floor when he said two passers-by knocked on his door, telling him to get out.
Bates, who uses an oxygen tank to breath, took his cat and escaped as firefighters arrived and the fire starting spreading.
“It was intense. You had the smoke, [and] when they ventilated the roof, that’s when it took off. It was so fully involved,” he said.
Neighbor Carol Tucker said flames were shooting out from the top of the roof.
Bates’ son also lives with him but was not home at the time. Bates said he would be staying with relatives for the night.
Fire Chief Michael Della Rocco said dispatchers received several calls reporting smoke in that area of Schenectady Street. When firefighters arrived, they attempted to start an interior attack.
“They were unable to get past the attic stairs due to intense heat and smoke,” he said.
They switched strategies and shot massive amounts of water onto the roof, which subsequently caved in. Firefighters continued pouring water from above and below to put out hot spots.
Fire crews searched the building but did not find any more residents on the first and second floors, but Della Rocco said they did find a few cats that were unharmed. No injuries were reported.
Della Rocco said it is too early to determine a cause but it appeared to have started in the attic. Sometimes, smoke in the attic is a sign of fire elsewhere in the house, he said, but firefighters didn’t find any other source of the fire.
The roof was destroyed and there was significant smoke and water damage throughout the building. It is too soon to determine whether it is salvageable, Della Rocco said.
Smoke also damaged a neighboring home at 513 Schenectady St.