Nearly three dozen people were left homeless Sunday evening after a fire destroyed four row houses and damaged three others, fire officials said.
No one was injured in the blaze, and everyone was out by the time firefighters arrived, Fire Chief Robert Forezzi said. The scene on Park Avenue is just blocks from the Governor’s Mansion.
The investigation into the blaze also began, but officials were unable to even determine in which home the fire began. “There was so much fire upon arrival that it was hard to tell,” Forezzi said.
Whether it was accidental or intentionally set was also undetermined, he said.
In all, four row houses will need to be demolished, Forezzi said: 58, 60, 62 and 64 Park Ave. Three others were damaged but repairable, he said: 56, 66 and 68 Park Ave.
Up to 34 people were displaced by the blaze, he said, and efforts were under way Monday to help those displaced, including by the Red Cross and by the Victory Christian Church in Albany. The church’s pastor, Charlie Muller, announced creation of a fund through Capital Communications Federal Credit Union and an initial donation of $2,000.
Firefighters responded to the Park Avenue block just before 8 p.m. Sunday. They arrived three minutes after the call to find the rear of three of the houses ablaze.
Forezzi attributed the time of night with helping to get out everyone safely. “It’s a good thing it was that time of night and not later, at bedtime,” he said.
With everyone accounted for, firefighters from around the city — more than 50 in all — worked to stop the fire from spreading and to put it out.
Before the fire was contained, it had spread to four other houses in the row. Contributing to the spread was the wooden porches on the rear of the homes and a rubber membrane across the roofs. The membrane liquefied and helped spread the flames, Forezzi said.
Firefighters eventually contained the flames with large amounts of water. The fire was declared extinguished about 4 hours and 45 minutes after it was called in.
The investigation was being conducted by the Albany Fire Department; Albany Police Department; state Office of Fire Prevention and Control; federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Albany County District Attorney’s Office.
The Northeastern New York Chapter of the American Red Cross announced it provided immediate emergency aid to nine families affected by the fire.
The Red Cross Disaster Action Team Members also gave out comfort kits, offered emotional support and provided financial assistance for food, clothing and temporary shelter for the people affected by the fire.