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Two-Alarm Apartment Building Fire Leaves 20 Homeless in Albany

By JEFFREY BELSCHWINDER, Senior Correspondent | October 11, 2020 | NEW YORK

Story No. 110620105

Albany, NY - On October 11th at 4:18 P.M., City of Albany’s Truck 3 called out on air with heavy smoke and fire showing from 6 Brevator Street and requested the full transmission of the box alarm with reports of multiple people trapped in the building.

Truck 3 immediately transmitted the Signal 30 for a working fire. Truck 3 requested multiple ambulances and an additional rescue squad on the box as they had several people injured. Battalion One immediately transmitted the second-alarm, bringing in additional resources to the scene including one doctor from Albany Medical Center, as this was a large incident. The Albany Fire Department is one of the few departments in the area that utilizes an on scene doctor at their fire scene.

Firefighters from Truck 3 and Engine 10 immediately went to work searching the apartment building as heavy black smoke filled the afternoon sky. Firefighters from Engine 10 immediately connected to the nearest hydrant and deployed a hand line right into the front door of the structure. As firefighters pushed down the hallway they encountered heavy black smoke and heavy fire bearing down the hallway on them.

As crews were attempting to make their way to the second floor to the trapped victim, the individual jumped to the ground, injuring his leg. Police officers and firefighters quickly assisted the individual. Mohawk Ambulance arrived on scene and transported the injured patient to Albany Medical Center.

As additional units arrived on scene firefighters made their way to the back of the building where heavy fire was blowing out of the second-story windows. Firefighters immediately went up the fire escape to the floor above the fire floor and began to conduct a rapid search of the building. Police officers from the Albany Police Department and Albany Sheriff's Department assisted by getting everyone out of the building on the ground level.

As crews began to knock down the heavily involved first floor, firefighters radioed to command that they were experiencing water problems. Command was receiving reports that there was one person still unaccounted for inside of the building. Firefighters immediately deployed to all floors of the building and began to search. As firefighters called out floor by floor that the floors were clear, Command notified everyone after the final floor was clear and all of the apartments were clear that there was no one in the building. With heavy black smoke still pushing from the back of the building firefighters continued an aggressive interior attack on the fire.

Additional firefighters brought in multiple hand lines to assist with the initial attack team and were quickly able to knock down the fire. EMTs from Mohawk Ambulance and the Albany FD began to check on all of the fire victims from the building. As firefighters inside of the building brought the fire under control additional firefighters quickly laddered the building and set up positive pressure fans in front of the entranceway on the first floor. Firefighters from the additional truck company went to the roof to vent, but notified Command that they had a slate roof and were going to be taking the skylights.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control in about 30 minutes. Fire Investigators arrived on scene and began to conduct their investigation into the incident. The apartment building was not sprinklered, and it is not clear at this time if it had a working fire alarm system.

A total of 20 people were left homeless and one person sustained injuries after jumping for his life from the second floor. The fire was caused by a candle, determined by the investigators. No firefighters were injured on scene while battling the fire.

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