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Heavy Fire From A Vacant Building On 1st Street With One Squatter Removed

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

On March 28, 2024 at 7:04 AM, the City of Albany’s dispatchers transmitted the alarm of fire for 370 first Street and notified all units that they were taking multiple calls for heavy smoke and fire coming from a vacant structure. Engine seven, engine one, engine two, rescue squad, truck two, truck one, engine ten, Mohawk Ambulance Service, and the battalion chief responded to the scene. Engine one notified the dispatcher that they had smoke showing from Central Avenue and Lexington Avenue to dedicate the frequency. Engine one arrived on scene and immediately transmitted the signal thirty as they had heavy smoke and heavy fire showing from the rear of a two-story wood frame structure that appeared to be vacant. Engine one requested truck two to take the front of the building and engine two to grab a hydrant nearby and create the water supply.

Firefighters immediately deployed a hand line to the rear of the building as it was well involved and the officer on scene requested all units to stay outside of the structure until they could determine it was safe to make entry. As firefighters were deploying another hand line in the rear of the building, crews requested engine one to charge the hand line and firefighters went to work making an aggressive push to knock down the heavy fire in the rear of the structure. As firefighters were working in the rear of the building, firefighters deployed an additional hand line, but the engine operator for engine one notified firefighters in the rear of the building that they had a half a tank left to use caution, but engine two charged the hydrant on scene creating a water supply. Command requested another truck company and engine company to the scene and dedicated the next due truck company as the rapid intervention team.

Command reported to the dispatcher that the vacant building was not placard and they have reports of squatters inside of the building. Firefighters immediately through ladders to the second-floor windows and began to remove the plywood and notified command that they still had a good fire condition with heavy smoke on the second floor. Firefighters made entry to the first floor and began to conduct a primary search and discovered a squatter inside of the building and escorted them out of the structure. Command requested the police department to the rear of the building to speak with that individual. Firefighters in the rear of the building notified command that the stairs to the structure are compromised as they were heavily involved and still had fire underneath them. Firefighters on the exterior portion of the building notified crews inside that they had heavy smoke pushing from the structure now to use caution.

Firefighters inside of the structure notified command that the primary search was clear and deployed a hand line to the second floor and went to work knocking down all of the remaining fire. Command requested fire investigators to the scene as soon as possible. Firefighters utilizing aggressive tactics were able to bring the incident under control in less than 20 minutes. Firefighters continued to conduct extensive overhaul for an extended period of time. Fire investigators arrived on scene and began to question the individual that was inside of the vacant building that caught fire. Firefighters remained on scene for an extended period of time while city engineers assessed the stability of the building. No injuries were reported, and firefighters went back into service later in the morning. Fire investigators have not released the cause of the fire publicly.

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