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Albany Crews Battle Second-Alarm Fire on Sheridan Ave.

By JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent | May 23, 2021 | NEW YORK

Story No. 060121109

ALBANY, NY - On May 23rd at 3:40 P.M., the City of Albany's Fire Department was dispatched for multiple calls reporting a structure fire at 346 Sheridan Avenue.

As units were responding, Engine 1 notified the dispatcher that they were arriving on scene with a heavy smoke and fire condition on all floors and would be grabbing the fire hydrant in the front of the building. The Signal 30 was declared for a working structure fire.

Engine 1’s officer notified each arriving unit the direction they would need to come in to the scene as they would need to hook into multiple fire hydrants at different locations to supply the scene with an adequate water supply. Engine 1's crew made their way inside of the structure with a hand line where they encountered heavy fire conditions on the first floor.

Firefighters arriving from Truck 2 immediately assisted Engine 1 and deployed another hand line into the building. Firefighters from Engine 1 firmly requested for the pump operator to charge the red line. As heavy fire pushed over the heads of the firefighters inside of the building additional crews arrived on scene and the battalion chief took command.

As fire conditions rapidly changed and fire started to spread to the building on the 'Bravo' exposure, command made the decision to transmit the second-alarm. Firefighters on the second floor notified command that they had heavy fire in the cockloft area. Firefighters made their way to the rear of the building and discovered that the rear stairs had already burned through and there was no access to the second floor.

Crews made their way into the 'Bravo' exposure building and notified command that they had significant heat pushing from the roof area of the second floor. Crews began to pull the ceilings to check for extension in the 'Bravo' building. As firefighters were attempting to make progress in the primary fire building, conditions continued to change and the fire rapidly began to spread further.

Firefighters notified command in the 'Bravo' exposure building that they had fire in the attic area and requested a line to the second floor. Firefighters in the primary building notified command that they still had heavy fire conditions and were working to attempt to knock them down. Firefighters on the roof of the structure notified command that heavy fire just blew through the vent hole in the roof and command ordered the evacuation tones of firefighters working in the building. As crews made their way out of the building and collected in front of the building, officers conducted a par check to make sure all firefighters on scene were accounted for.

Command notified the dispatcher and all units on scene that they were going defensive on the two buildings. Firefighters from the truck companies on scene set up their nozzles for master stream operations and firefighters on scene used multiple blitz fires from the street. Thick heavy smoke pushed from the roof of the building, along with heavy fire traveling the attic areas of both fire buildings. Firefighters opened up all of their master streams and blitz fires at the same time along with operating numerous hand lines, pounding both fire buildings. Heavy amounts of water started to flow out the front door of both houses. The roof of both fire buildings gave way into the second floor.

Crews remained on scene conducting master stream operations for over 30 minutes before command allowed firefighters to re-enter the structure and knock down any remaining hotspots. Firefighters remained on scene for over two hours conducting heavy overhaul of the building.

While firefighters were conducting overhaul an individual came onto the fire scene, picked up a hydrant wrench and began to swing it around firefighters. The Albany Police Department stepped in and attempted to get the individual to drop the wrench, but they would not comply. One of the pump operators was able to sneak up behind the individual and grab the hydrant wrench out of her hand. Police quickly placed the individual under protective custody and transported them to Albany Medical Center for an evaluation.

No injuries were reported on scene of the structure fire, and all of the residents made it out safely. The Red Cross was contacted for the individuals that lost everything in the fire. Fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

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