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Latham Firefighters Deal with Explosion and Hoarding Conditions While Fighting House Fire on Old Louden Rd.

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November 18, 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.

LATHAM, NY - On November 18th at 10:01 P.M., the Latham FD, along with mutual aid from Boght Community Fire Co., Schuyler Heights FD, Maplewood FD, Colonie Village Fire Co. for a FAST team, and Verdoy FD, were dispatched for a reported structure fire at 71 Old Louden Road. As Car 26 was responding to the scene he had a heavy smoke condition banking down into the street. Car 26 arrived on scene and notified the dispatcher that he had a heavy smoke condition showing from the structure.

As the chief began conducting a walk-around of the home, he discovered possible hoarding conditions visible from the exterior portion of the structure. Engine 419 arrived on scene and quickly established a water supply, and also deployed multiple hand lines to the front door of the structure. Firefighters quickly began to force entry to the front door of the home and were met with furniture stacked to the ceiling in the porch area, making it impossible for crews to make entry. The quick-thinking officer of the engine company began developing a plan to attempt to make entry to the home to complete fire suppression.

While crews were attempting to make entry to another portion of the home, thick black turbulent smoke began to push from the structure, and the windows on the side of the structure began to rattle. Firefighters made their way inside the structure and were met with extreme heat and a heavy smoke condition banking down to the floor. Firefighters notified command of the conditions inside the home, and as they pushed their way further through, an explosion occurred inside the structure, causing the windows to blow out onto the crews. Truck 4, along with multiple engines and an additional truck company quickly arrived on scene.

Truck 4 connected to the hydrant across the street from the house and set up their aerial for operations from the front. Firefighters made their way to the roof and began to vent the structure. Firefighters inside the house started to darken down the fire in the living room while additional crews entered through the rear back porch area where they were met with another challenge of hoarding conditions. Those firefighters immediately notified command of the conditions in the rear portion of the home, and command transmitted the Signal 30 for a working structure fire which brought additional resources to the scene. Crews continued to make a push inside the home and began to get a knock down on some of the fire on the first floor.

As firefighters worked inside conditions began to change and rapidly deteriorate. The fire had made its way upstairs through the holes in the floor of the home and thick heavy black smoke began to push from the second floor. Seeing the changes, command ordered everyone out of the building and had them switch to exterior operations until the bulk of the fire could be brought under control on the second floor. As firefighters were pulling out of the home, exterior crews set up hand lines on the side of the home where heavy fire was located and began to knock down all visible fire they could see from the window.

After command evaluated the home, firefighters were allowed back inside the structure to finish knocking down the remaining fire condition inside. Firefighters remained on scene until the late hours of the evening conducting overhaul of the badly damaged home. During the secondary inspection firefighters discovered multiple holes in the second floor of the structure from a remodel of the home.

Town of Colonie Fire Services was brought in to conduct their investigation into the cause of the fire. Fire Investigators remained on scene for an extended period of time. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. No injuries were reported, and firefighters went back into service just after midnight.

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