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Second-Alarm House Fire Claims Life of Child in Troy

By JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent | April 25, 2021 | NEW YORK

Story No. 050421106

TROY, NY - On April 25th at 5:07 A.M., the city of Troy Fire Department was dispatched to 388 4th Street for a structure fire, with reports of a baby trapped in the building. The dispatcher notified all responding units that they were taking multiple calls on the fire. Engines 6, 3, 4 and 2, along with Trucks 1 and 2, the rescue squad, Medic 4, and the Battalion Chief called en route to the scene.

With Engine 6 being only one block away, firefighters quickly arrived on scene and had heavy fire pushing from the center of two buildings. The officer on Engine 6 declared the Signal 30 for a working structure fire and the Battalion Chief called the second-alarm, bringing the city of Watervliet FD and the Watervliet Arsenal to the scene. Firefighters immediately deployed one-and-three quarter inch and two-and-a-half inch hand lines.

Crews from multiple engine companies arrived on scene and began to force their way into the adjacent apartment building as heavy black smoke pushed from the second floor windows and roof area. As heavy fire pushed over 40-feet into the morning sky, firefighters made entry into the primary fire building where they encountered heavy fire conditions and thick black smoke on the first floor.

Police began to assist firefighters with evacuating residents from the buildings, and while in the rear of the building, police were told there were children still trapped in the building. The patrol sergeant immediately notified the dispatcher to relay the message to the fire department on scene.

Residents quickly evacuated the building and firefighters began to conduct their primary search of the adjacent buildings that had heavy smoke pushing from the roof. As firefighters were searching the building they discovered a young child on the floor and immediately notified command that they were coming outside. Firefighters made their way to the door where they were met with additional firefighters who rushed the child away from the burning building.

As conditions were rapidly changing on the fire ground, a large dog jumped from the rear of the building to escape the fire. Neighbors assisted in getting the dog back to its owners safely. A recall for additional firefighters to come into the city of Troy was placed by command.

Firefighters from Truck 1 made their way to the roof of the multi-dwelling apartment building and began to conduct ventilation. As firefighters cut the roof open the second floor of the building flashed over, sending fire out of every window in the rear, sides and front of the building. The ladder that firefighters used to get to the roof became wrapped in fire. One firefighter quickly made his way down the ladder through the fire to the ground where he was met by one of the chiefs on scene and one of the pump operators. Firefighters on the ground quickly move the ladder to the other side of the building and several firefighters scrambled down the ladder from the roof. After regaining their composure, firefighters from Truck 1 went to work in putting the truck company in the air and began to conduct master stream operations. Command advised all units on the fire ground to evacuate all of the buildings as they were going defensive.

Firefighters utilized numerous blitz fires, hand lines, deck guns, and ladder pipes and began to drive the fire back. As crews switched into defensive operations, 384, 386, 388 and 390 Fourth Street were now involved. Firefighters pumped tens of thousands of gallons of water into the buildings, knocking down the heavy fire conditions. Large amounts of water began to pour out the front doors of all of the fire buildings. There was substantial structural collapse on the primary fire building in the roof area.

As firefighters brought the fire under control command ordered half a dozen hand lines, ladder pipes, and blitz fires to shut down so crews could begin to assess the risk factor of making entry into the fire buildings.

Command authorized crews to make entry to the fire buildings and to begin to conduct extensive overhaul on scene. Command was notified that the child that was discovered inside of the building had passed away.

The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control was requested to the scene with their investigation team. Firefighters remained on scene for over two days. Fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire, which displaced over 20 people. One other person suffered injuries on scene and was transported to the hospital. The fire is still under investigation at this time.

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