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Elk Street Basement Fire Places Challenges on Albany Firefighters

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

ALBANY, NY - On November 19th at 5:26 P.M., the communications officers at the City of Albany’s dispatch center took a call for a reported structure fire at 419 Elk Street in the city of Albany. The passerby reported smoke and flames coming from the house. Engines 7, 1 and 2, Trucks 2 and 3, Rescue 1, the rescue squad, Mohawk Ambulance Service, and the battalion chief responded to the scene. Engine 1 arrived on scene and transmitted the Signal 30 for a working structure fire with heavy smoke showing from the rear of the home. Engine 1's driver connected to the hydrant nearby and firefighters deployed a one-and-three-quarter-inch hand line to the front door of the structure.

Firefighters requested the truck company to expedite to the scene, as they were having trouble gaining entry to the structure. Firefighters forced entry to the structure and made their way to the second-floor to conduct a primary search, and crews notified all incoming units that they had a heavy smoke condition throughout the second-floor. Firefighters immediately tossed a ladder to the front windows of the structure and began to vent. As firefighters made their way down into the basement, crews took out basement windows and passed another hand line down to the crews. Unit 107 called over the radio with an urgent message that they were having a hydrant issue and needed to find another hydrant quickly. Firefighters from the next incoming engine company laid into the scene from another hydrant.

Firefighters inside of building requested the hand line pressure to be raised. Firefighters notified command that they were having difficulties locating the fire inside the basement, as they had hoarding conditions throughout. Command requested another engine company to the scene to deploy as their FAST, as they needed additional crews inside the building. As firefighters began to vent the windows, the fire started to show itself and firefighters quickly knocked it down. Firefighters in the rear of the building notified command that the firefighters inside of the basement needed to use extreme caution, as there was only one way into the basement and one way out. Firefighters were having difficulty gaining access to the other doorway to the basement and crews were running into real trouble in doing so. Firefighters in the rear of the building highly recommended crews inside of the basement remain close to the front stairs.

Firefighters inside the basement reported to command that they had the fire knocked down, but command notified all units that they still had a significant smoke condition on all floors. Firefighters on the first-floor conducting their primary search notified command that the primary search was negative, but they had fire pushing up onto the first-floor. Interior crews reported to command that they had fire traveling the walls and requested two firefighters to assist with pulling apart walls inside of the first-floor. Firefighters inside of the first-floor began to pull apart the areas where they had fire traveling the walls and quickly began to knock down the fire condition. Firefighters secured the utilities to the best of their ability on scene. Firefighters notified command that a secondary search was completed, and everyone was still accounted for.

Command was able to place the fire under control in about 30 minutes. Firefighters on scene conducted extensive overhaul to the building. Fire investigators arrived on scene and began to conduct an investigation into what caused the fire. No injuries were reported. The red cross was contacted for the occupants of the structure. Firefighters went back into service later that evening. The fire is still under investigation at this time, and no cause has been released.

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