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Watervliet Firefighters Rescue 5 Cats & 1 Dog from 4th Ave. Fire

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January 24, 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.

WATERVLIET, NY - The city of Watervliet's Fire Department, along with mutual aid from the Green Island Fire Department and Watervliet Arsenal Fire Department, was dispatched to 1543 4th Avenue for a reported garage fire on January 24th at 2:47 P.M. As the call was being dispatched multiple calls started to pour in as the building surrounding the garage began to catch fire. There was also a possible burn victim reported.

As firefighters from the Watervliet Fire department pulled out of their station, a massive black column of smoke could be seen in the distance. Firefighters immediately transmitted the Signal 30 for a working structure fire. Before firefighters arrived on scene a local delivery driver was able to successfully get a cat out of one of the homes before being pushed back by the fire.

Watervliet firefighters arrived on scene within about one minute of the dispatch and transmitted the second-alarm, bringing in the city of Troy’s Fire Department and City of Cohoes Fire Department to the scene. Both departments immediately began recalling firefighters to staff engines within the city. Firefighters deployed a two-and-a-half inch hand line to the front of the garage as heavy fire blew 30-feet into the air out of the front of the garage. The next arriving engine deployed a supply line from one block away to feed the scene with water.

Additional hand lines began being deployed from the truck company and firefighters started to knock down the fire on the adjacent building surrounding the main fire building. Thick, heavy black smoke poured into the afternoon sky. The column of smoke was visible from the city of Albany.

With multiple exposure buildings still on fire command transmitted the third-alarm, bringing the city of Albany's Fire Department to the scene and backfilling multiple departments with firefighters from the Town of Colonie. Firefighters made their way into the 'Bravo' side exposure building and deployed the hand line to the second floor as they had heavy smoke pushing from the cockloft. Firefighters made their way into the first floor apartment and discovered a dog which was quickly rescued and brought outside to police officers in the front of the building.

As firefighters started to get the heavy fire condition knocked down in the garage, additional firefighters switched their efforts to the surrounding buildings that had been damaged by the heavy fire condition from the garage fire. Firefighters from the city of Troy's truck company set up one street over and reached over the houses with the bucket in case they had to go to work with master streams. Firefighters deployed another hand line into the structure as they had a significant fire condition on the second floor of the home. Firefighters checked the 'Charlie' side exposure building that had significant damage to the porch area and upper roof area and discovered that they had stopped the fire from spreading into that structure. Paramedics and EMTs from Mohawk Ambulance found the burn patient and began to assess the individual.

Firefighters inside the 'Bravo' exposure building began to pull the ceilings as they had a significant fire condition above them. Firefighters from the truck company began venting the roof of the building as fire was pushing from the side of the structure. As firefighters on the second floor were conducting a primary search they discovered a cat named Willis and brought it out to its grateful owner. The owner notified firefighters that there were two more cats in the building. City of Albany firefighters arrived on scene and began assisting firefighters inside the secondary fire building. Firefighters also made their way into another structure that had significant siding damage from the fire and made sure that there was no extension inside of that structure.

Firefighters on the second floor of the 'Bravo' exposure building continued to make an aggressive push into the attic area and knocked down the fire. Thick white smoke and steam began to pour from the vent holes in the roof. Firefighters continued to work on the second floor for an extended period of time and brought out the two remaining cats to their owner. Firefighters also learned that there were two additional cats on the first floor in the back bedroom area and made their way inside of that apartment and successfully rescued them.

Firefighters continued to extensively overhaul the building for an extended period of time. The Watervliet Police Department began conducting their investigation into the cause of the fire. Paramedics that evaluated the individual that was injured in the fire did not transport the individual to the hospital, as he signed a medical release. Police continued their investigation on scene into the cause of the fire until the late evening hours.

Firefighters were asked to check on one of the cats that was rescued from the fire building and brought over a pet rescue mask kit to begin administering oxygen. The owners of the cats and dogs were extremely grateful that firefighters were able to successfully rescue their pets. One of the neighbors nearby stated, "We have the best fire department in the state of New York and they truly care about the people of Watervliet."

No firefighters were injured during the fire. Crews remained on scene for a few more hours before going back in service.

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