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Troy Firefighters Rescue One Person At A Second Alarm Fire

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January 17, 2023 | NEW YORK JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

Troy, NY - On January 17, 2023, at 12:08 AM, the city of Troy‘s Fire Department was dispatched by the Rensselaer County Emergency Communication Center to 31 2nd Street for a reported structure fire. The caller reported the hallways are filling with smoke. Engine Four, engine two, engine six, truck two, truck one, the rescue squad, medic four, and the battalion chief responded to the scene. While units were responding to the scene the dispatcher began to take additional calls on the fire. On arrival, the battalion chief had a smoke condition in the structure as he approached the building and transmitted the signal thirty for a working structure fire.

Truck two took the front of the building and firefighters immediately began to deploy a hand line to the front of the structure. Engine six took the rear alley behind the building and deployed a hand line to the rear of the structure where they had smoke and fire from the rear of the building. Command notified the dispatcher that he had a three-story multi occupancy brick structure with a rear deck fire with extension into the structure. Command had a heavy smoke condition throughout the first floor. Truck two notified command they had a fire victim in the front of the building in the window. Firefighters immediately took the front window of the structure out and deployed a ladder into the window and rescued the victim on the first floor. Firefighters assisted the victim to a nearby table and chairs from a local bar next door. Firefighters immediately went back to work searching the structure for additional victims that may be inside of the building.

Engine fours crew laid in the supply line from truck two to the hydrant to feed the scene. With the city of Troy’s Fire Department only running 24 firefighters/paramedics city wide per shift and medic one out of service as it is cross staffed by the crew for truck one and the staff from medic two were on engine two as it is another cross staffed piece of apparatus in the city of Troy taking all of the medic rigs out of service in the city of Troy for the fire as all the units on scene were actively dedicated to the fire ground and command had a large three-story building with a multiple occupancy structures on both sides and now an active fire alarm from the building next door. Command transmitted the second alarm bringing the city of Watervliet's Fire Department for one engine and Watervliet Arsenal Fire Department to the scene with their fast team.

Firefighters made their way inside of the structure and began to conduct an aggressive interior attack on the fire inside of the structure on the second floor and firefighters in the rear of the building made an aggressive push and knocked down the heavy fire condition traveling up the rear of the building. Engine two connected to a hydrant on Broadway and laid down the alleyway to engine six to establish another water supply. Firefighters notified command that they had fire traveling up the wall into the second floor and crews made their way to the third floor to check for extension. Watervliet's engine arrived on scene and backed down second street to the front of truck two and crews made their way inside of the structure to assist the firefighters on the second floor. Command at 12:27am requested a mutual aid ambulance to the scene of the structure fire for a standby. The North Greenbush Ambulance was dispatched for a mutual aid request for an advanced life support ambulance to the scene as a standby at 12:30AM. The North Greenbush Ambulance excepted the mutual aid request at 12:32 am for the standby and began to head to the scene.

Firefighters from the Watervliet Arsenal set up their fast team in front of the structure and made their way over to a gate that was locked that would allow them easy access to the rear of the structure that was involved. Firefighters used hand tools and quickly opened the lock. Firefighters continued to knock down hotspots on the second floor of the structure and conducted a secondary search of the building for any occupants. Firefighters had notified command that all occupants in the structure have been accounted for. Firefighters on scene that were staging in the front of the structure were sent into the building next-door that had an active fire alarm going off from the smoke from the structure fire next-door. The occupants of that building evacuated across the street and watched firefighters work to extinguish the fire. The North Greenbush Ambulance requested a second duty crew to standby in quarters to cover the town of North Greenbush while the in-service ambulance headed to the fire scene.
Firefighters inside of the structure began to conduct overhaul to find any remaining hotspots inside of the structure. With the fire victim still at the table outside the structure neighbors brought the victim inside of the local establishment next-door to stay warm and wait for Emergency Medical Services to arrive on scene. At 12:43am the North Greenbush Ambulance arrived on scene and made their way down to the scene and began to evaluate the fire victim. Firefighters inside of the structure were able to contain the fire to the rear of the building, and to part of the second floor. The building suffered heavy smoke and fire damage on the first and second floor. Firefighters remained on scene for an extended period of time. At 1:02am the fire victim was transported to the hospital by the North Greenbush Ambulance.

The fire is under investigation at this time. The city of Troy’s current administration on December 30, 2022, cut from service a third ambulance from the City of Troy’s Fire Department that was handling the significant influx of emergency medical services calls in the city of Troy. In a previous year, the city Council of the city of Troy had approved a referendum to have the mayor's office find a company that specializes in fire and EMS services to conduct a study to see what the proper staffing that is needed for the fire department and ambulance service to continue to serve, and protect the residence of the city of Troy, as the city is growing in size and gaining numerous large apartment buildings and the call volume is growing. The Troy Council President Carmela Mantello told Sidewinder photography that she has attempted numerous times via email to see the status of this study as it has yet to be put out to bid. The study will cost taxpayers a significant amount of money just to learn that they need to significantly increase their staffing as in the pass the city of Troy’s Fire Department had 30 firefighters on per shift before the city of Troy had to avoid bankruptcy and get a $65 million loan after financial miss management by leaders of the city of Troy in the 1980s. An attempt to increase the fire departments staffing by two firefighters was put into the 2023 budget but did not pass during budget negotiations between the city council and the mayor's office. Currently the city of Troys Fire Department still only has 24 firefighter/ paramedics on per shift and struggle to keep up with the high call volume and the understaffed fire department has cost millions of dollars in overtime to the taxpayers of the City of Troy over the last few years instead of properly staffing the fire department.

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