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Second-Alarm Fire Suspect Arrested and Released on Appearance Ticket in Troy

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

TROY, NY - On September 24th at 6:11P.M., the City of Troy’s Fire Department was dispatched to 3rd Avenue and 106th Street for multiple calls for a reported structure fire. The callers reported the back of the building was on fire. Engines 1, 4 and 2, Trucks 1 and 2, Medic 4, the rescue squad, and the battalion chief all responded to the scene. While units were responding to the scene, Engine 1 had a heavy column of smoke showing from a few streets away. Due to Engine 2 being on a medical call, they were not available for the call and Engine 6 was dispatched from the south end of the city of Troy to take its place.

Troy police arrived on scene and notified the Rensselaer County Emergency Communication Center the address was 292 3rd Avenue, and all of the occupants of the home were out of the structure. The battalion chief transmitted the Signal 30 for a working structure fire while en route to the scene. Engine 1 arrived on scene with Truck 1 and immediately transmitted the Signal 30 and notified the dispatcher that they had heavy fire showing from the rear of the building and heavy smoke pushing from the roof. Engine 4 hit the hydrant at 106th and 3rd Avenue and laid into the scene, establishing the water supply for Engine 1 and the truck company. Truck 2 came in around the block and began to set up behind Truck 1. Firefighters from Truck 1 set up the rig and immediately put the ladder into the air and made their way to the roof. While doing so, they pushed right through the center of a tree to gain access to the roof.

Firefighters immediately made entry to the structure in the front of the building and conducted a primary search and notified command that the house was clear. Firefighters made entry with a hand line to the second-floor and began to make a push inside of the structure while another firefighter took a two-and-a-half-inch hand line to the rear of the building and began to knock down the fire in the rear, as it was heavily involved. As firefighters were working, members of the truck company began to vent the roof. As they cut through the center of the roof, thick heavy black turbulent smoke began to push from the vent hole and heavy fire began to push from the rear of the structure's roofline. As firefighters were making a push up the back stairs, they were forced to stop as the stairs were unstable and beginning to fall apart from the heavy fire load. With heavy fire pushing from the roof and an exposure issue on the 'Delta' side of the structure, command transmitted the second-alarm, bringing Engine 3, City of Cohoes Fire Department and Watervliet Arsenal Fire Department to the scene.

Firefighters on the roof of the building attempted to make additional vent holes as they had heavy black turbulent smoke pushing from the front cockloft vent and eaves of the structure. Firefighters on the second-floor had significant issues gaining access to the cockloft area as tin ceilings presented an extreme challenge to firefighters to break through them. As firefighters continued to work inside of the structure, the heavy black smoke in the rear of the house turned into a heavy fire condition from the middle of the roof. As firefighters were working on scene, the engine operator began to experience issues with the water supply and notified command that they needed to find another water source. Firefighters quickly made their way down Third Avenue and established a water supply from 2nd Avenue from another water main. As firefighters continued to work to gain access to the cockloft area and crews began to make a large hole in the bedrooms on the second-floor, they were able to reveal a small portion of the cockloft and discovered they had heavy fire traveling throughout.

Firefighters on the second-floor notified command that they had fire pushing again from the outside of the building and in the kitchen area by the staircase. Command notified those units to use extreme caution as the rear staircase and porch of the building were burned out. Troy, Cohoes and Watervliet Arsenal firefighters continued to work throughout the structure to attempt to continue to make progress inside of the structure, but as heavy fire continued to push from the roof of the structure and conditions continued to decline, command made the decision to pull all of the firefighters from the building and to utilize the two truck companies with master stream operations. Command requested the dispatcher to transmit the evacuation tones on scene. Firefighters from the truck company made their way back to the buckets of the rigs and crews set up above the building and on the 'Delta' side of the building.

Firefighters made their way out the front of the structure and all crews were accounted for. Firefighters removed all of the ladders from the side of the building in order to prevent damage from the master streams operations. Both truck companies opened up their master streams and began to knock down the heavy fire condition in the cockloft. Firefighters continued to utilize master stream operations for an extended period of time. After command deemed it safe for firefighters to enter the structure, crews made entry to the second-floor and continued to pull down the tin ceilings, and as they were doing so a portion of the ceiling shifted and a large chandelier came down on the crews working inside. As firefighters made a large enough hole, they utilized an attic ladder and knocked down a significant amount of the remaining fire. Firefighters continued to work on overhauling the severely damaged home. Firefighters remained on scene for an extended period of time. No injuries were reported.

Numerous neighbors reported seeing the occupant of the home coming into the house with two large gas cans just before the fire and exhibiting erratic behavior. One neighbor stated that there was an incident at that location a few days prior that required the Police Department response. Troy police officers on scene were notified of the suspicious behavior and began to conduct an investigation into the reports. After determining that the fire was suspicious, police continued their investigation and were able to determine that the owner of the house, Blaise C. Lanni, ignited the fire. Officers took Lanni to Samaritan Hospital for a medical evaluation and once he was discharged, he was placed under arrest and charged with arson in the third degree. The house was a total loss, and no injuries were reported. Blaise Lanni was arrested and released on an appearance ticket with a future court date in the city of Troy’s court.

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