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Paper Boy Calls in Early-Morning Vacant House Fire in Coeymans Hollow

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

COEYMANS HOLLOW, NY - A vacant house was destroyed after fire engulfed the structure in the early-morning hours of March 31st in Coeymans Hollow. The call went out just before 1:30 A.M. for a report of what the caller believed to be a house or a barn on fire at 319 Biers Road in Coeymans Hollow. 

Chief Bill Kapusta of the Coeymans Hollow Fire Department says fire crews arrived to find a house that was almost completely engulfed in flames. 

“I had a firefighter that lives not too far down the road who arrived first and it was well-involved at that time,” Kapusta said. He says a newspaper delivery person was the individual that saw the fire and called 911. 

Kapusta says there was a garage approximately 20-feet to the left of the house with the heavy fire beginning to impinge on that structure. He says the side of the garage began to burn and windows were breaking from the intense heat of the flames. 

Crews did not enter the home due to heavy fire involvement, meaning they performed a defensive attack only. Crews did enter the garage to prevent fire spread. Fire crews were able to save the garage, however, the house was already a loss once fire crews arrived. Kapusta said there was some ammunition inside the house, as well as many other hazards on the scene. 

“There were also two propane tanks, one very large, on the side of the house,” Kapusta said. He says there were also fuel oil tanks in the basement that were just filled, as well as a telephone pole with primary power lines that was 15-feet from the house. That pole, he added, was on fire from top to bottom. 

“Those lines crossed Biers Road and it would have been an issue if those lines dropped where our trucks were running up and down through,” Kapusta said. Fire crews also used foam during the operation from two of the handlines. 

“We were able to put the telephone pole out and the propane tanks we shut off and were able to cool off with the handlines,” Kapusta said. 

With a lack of fire hydrants, firefighters had to find a different source for water. A water supply was set up in a creek approximately 600-feet down the road from the house, according to Kapusta. 

Two supply lines were deployed to assist delivering the water to the scene. Kapusta says there was nobody living inside the house at the time of the fire. 

“It was about to be rented, so it was livable,” Kapusta said. “At the time there was nobody in it and no pets in it.” 

He says there were individuals set to move into the home within a week after the fire occurred. Firefighters remained on the scene throughout the morning as investigators worked on the scene. 

“There were several rekindles, which we expected just because we were not able to pick it apart with an excavator due to the investigation that was going on,” Kapusta said. 

On the scene and on standby included Coeymans Hollow, Selkirk, Onesquethaw, New Baltimore and Ravena fire departments along with Ravena Rescue, Albany County Paramedics, Albany County Sheriffs and Coeymans Police. 

The bulk of the fire was knocked down within an hour, he said. There were no injuries reported on the scene. Kapusta says the origin is believed to be in the rear of the house where there was the heaviest amount of fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time. 

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THOMAS MARRA Correspondent

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