Main Content


Woman Rescued In 3rd Alarm Apartment Complex Fire

avatar image
August 19, 2022 | 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.

TROY, NY - On August 19th at 7:34 P.M., the City of Troy’s FD was dispatched for multiple calls for a reported smoke condition in the hallway of the Valley Green Apartments on the second floor at 25 Morrison Avenue. The dispatcher at the Rensselaer County Emergency Communication Center notified the patrol sergeant of the incident, as they were tied up on multiple calls going on in the city.

With box alarm 326 being transmitted, Engines 3, 6, 2 and 4, along with Trucks 2 and 1, the rescue squad, Medic 4, and the Battalion Chief normally respond to the scene, but due to numerous EMS calls at some of the City of Troy’s hot spots numerous apparatus were out of service. With Truck 1, the rescue squad, Engine 2, Medics 1, 2 and 4 out on EMS calls, the first-alarm assignment was reduced to 12 firefighters responding to this call instead of 24. Troy police arrived on scene and notified the dispatcher that they had a heavy smoke condition showing from the front of the building. As Engine 3 was racing across Campbell Avenue to the scene a large column of smoke was visible and firefighters, knowing that half of the city's other firefighters were tied up on calls, were in for some serious issues.

Engine 3 arrived on scene and immediately transmitted the Signal 30 and notified the dispatcher they had heavy smoke showing with the building partially evacuated and numerous people still inside. Firefighters immediately made their way inside of the building and encountered a heavy smoke condition with a significant amount of heat also on the second floor and heavy smoke pushing from the roof. The battalion chief arrived on scene and immediately requested the second-alarm, bringing additional resources from the city of Albany and the Watervliet Arsenal to the scene. No sooner as the second-alarm was being transmitted, heavy fire blew through the roof of the building in the middle of the T shaped apartment building.

With only a handful of firefighters on scene, firefighters began to deploy multiple hand lines into the building and attempted to get people out at the same time as conducting fire suppression. Firefighters on the second floor attempted to make a push towards the main fire room, but faced significant problems as they ran into areas that were not accessible from the side they came in on. As thick, heavy black smoke pushed into the evening sky, heavy fire started to roll across the front of the building from apartment to apartment. Firefighters on the next arriving engine connected to a hydrant at the bottom of the hill, but did not have significant pressure. Truck 2 went to set up in the front of the building but was redirected to the rear as there was no other way to get apparatus in there once they would have set up. As firefighters were working to pull ceilings the light fixtures started to catch fire and melt downward. Due to the size of the building and lack of manpower firefighters did not know the true extent of the fire in the attic area until later on.

The Watervliet Arsenal truck company arrived on scene and firefighters immediately began to ladder the building and deploy their aerial device to the roof. The rescue squad, along with Engine 2, Medics 2, 4 and 1, all raced to help out at the fire scene as the frantic radio communications were being heard across the entire city of Troy. As firefighters connected to the hydrant in the rear of the building and laid into the scene and charged the hydrant, they realized they had very low pressure coming from the hydrant. Engine 6’s crew notified command they needed additional garden lays to the second floor, and they were pulling the ceiling and had heavy fire rolling above their heads. Engine 3's crew was making an aggressive interior attack and was notified by the pump operator that they were almost out of water.

As firefighters continued to make an aggressive push inside of the structure streams of water blew through the roof and thick, heavy smoke and fire continued to push forward past the streams. Members of the rescue squad arrived on scene along with members of the Albany FD and raced to help their fellow firefighters inside. Truck 1 arrived on scene in the rear of the main fire building and firefighters began to search for the nearest hydrant they could connect to. Firefighters discovered the nearest hydrant was over 800-feet away and began to hand lay in five-inch large diameter hose to the hydrant. With heavy fire rolling overhead in the roof area and numerous apartments well involved on the second-floor command transmitted the third-alarm, bringing additional resources from the Watervliet, Cohoes, Green Island, and the City of Albany Fire Departments to the City of Troy for mutual aid.

With the building not fully searched for anyone trapped inside or remaining in their apartments due to the few firefighters on scene conducting suppression efforts and trying to bring the fire under control, command made the decision to evacuate the structure as conditions changed greatly on the outside and heavy fire blew through multiple locations of the roof and thick heavy black smoke was pushing from both sides of the apartment building. Command made the decision to go defensive. With multiple truck companies set up ready to go all round the building, firefighters in the front of the building heard a faint scream for help coming from the building. As firefighters made their way towards the front of the building, they discovered a woman screaming for help that she was trapped in the building. Firefighters from the city of Troy and the Watervliet Arsenal sprang into action by climbing through the window with heavy fire blowing over their heads on the second floor. Multiple firefighters quickly came up with a plan and lifted the woman out of the apartment window and carried her to the front of the apparatus on scene.

Just as firefighters cleared the front of the building all of the master streams opened up at one time. Firefighters utilize multiple two-and-a-half inch hand lines on scene. After the significant amount of fire was knocked down, command authorized firefighters to remake entry in the building to resume searching for anybody still inside and to knock down any remaining fire. During the search firefighters discovered one of the resident's cats and brought it outside to the owner where they were able to administer oxygen to the pet, saving its life.

Firefighters continued to conduct extensive overhaul on scene for an extended period of time. During this operation the private fire hydrant system in the rear of the building ruptured, cutting the water supply in the rear of the building. Miraculously, throughout the entire operation, no firefighters were injured on scene. The woman rescued on scene was evaluated by Mohawk Ambulance Services. The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time by New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. A total of 41 apartments were destroyed by the fire and numerous displaced people were assisted by the Red Cross.

avatar image

No information from the author.