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Deep-Seated Attic Fire Gives Colonie Firefighters Trouble

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

COLONIE, NY - On December 5, 2023, at 4:35 P.M., the West Albany Fire Department, Shaker Road Fire Department, Fuller Road Fire Department, Colonie Village Fire Co., Menands Fire Department, and Colonie EMS were dispatched for a reported structure fire at 112 Frederick Avenue. The caller reported heavy smoke coming from the second-floor of the structure.

As multiple units called en route to the scene, Car 51 notified the dispatcher that he had a heavy smoke condition from Albany Shaker Road. Car 21, Car 66 and Car 51 arrived on scene and had a two-story, wood-frame structure with heavy smoke showing from the roof and second-floor, and all of the occupants out of the building. Command requested the Signal 30 to be transmitted. Engine 454 pulled down the roadway past the house and firefighters immediately dismounted from the rig and deployed a hand line to the front door of the structure. Command requested the truck company to take the front of the structure and crews to begin to go to work. Command requested an additional FAST to the scene, as they were going to place the first due FAST to work. Command requested the Stanford Heights Fire Department to the scene with their FAST. Truck 3 arrived on scene and began to set up in the front of the structure. Command notified the truck company that they had low wires and to use caution.

Command conducted a 360 around the building and had heavy fire pushing from the rear of the building and on the 'Delta' side of the structure. Firefighters on scene notified command of an urgent message that they had an electric vehicle in the garage. Command requested national grid to the scene to kill the power to the structure. Engine 406 arrived on scene and firefighters dismounted from the engine and began to hand lay to a nearby hydrant as the pump operator connected to Engine 454 to establish a full water supply. Firefighters on the second-floor made it to the back bedroom and began to search for the fire and notified command that it was in the attic above their heads. Firefighters cleared the house and notified command the primary search was negative. Firefighters made entry to the garage and began to pull ceilings and discovered heavy fire running in the ceilings of the garage. Command notified the firefighters on the second-floor that the second-floor was pushing heavy from the outside. Additional firefighters began to arrive on scene and deployed another hand line to the front door of the structure, as they needed a hand line to protect the stairwell.

Command was notified that the second FAST did not call en route to the scene yet, and Colonie Village had an additional engine in quarters with four qualified FAST members, and without missing a beat, command with two words to the dispatcher said, “Send it!”. Thick, heavy brown smoke began to chug from the side of the building and command notified all of the units that it was inside of the structure and to use caution. Command notified units on the second-floor that they had the super two coming in the front door, so they would have three lines in operation. Units operating in the garage notified command that they had the fire knocked down, and units on the second-floor notified command that conditions were changing on the second-floor, and they had significant amounts of heat pushing them to the floor and heavy smoke above. Firefighters that made entry to the structure made their way to the basement to check to see if they had a working basement fire, and discovered they only had a smoke condition, but no fire.

Firefighters on the second-floor notified command that they were pulling down to the first-floor as conditions had worsened and they were not making any progress. Command notified them to pull down to the second-floor, that the structure was now well-involved in the attic area as they had heavy brown smoke pushing from the roof, and they were sending crews to the roof to begin to vent the structure. Command notified all units to get off the second-floor as conditions were rapidly changing, and he was worried that they might have a smoke explosion on the second-floor. Truck 3's bucket stretched over the driveway up to the second-floor area and began to pull the vent on the side of the house. As firefighters were cutting a vent hole in the structure, thick, heavy brown smoke began to violently chug from the hole. Firefighters immediately exited the roof after venting the structure. Firefighters in the rear of the structure notified command that they had heavy fire blowing through the back of the building. Firefighters deployed another two-and-a-half-inch hand line to the rear of the structure and began to hit the heavy fire condition in the rear of the building in an attempt to darken it down. Firefighters that were on the second-floor quickly exited the structure, changed out their bottles and grabbed a quick bottle of water before rushing back in. Firefighters deployed the super two hand line to the front door and notified command that they were going to make entry back to the second-floor to get the fire.

Command was about to put the firefighters back in to the building as firefighters were utilizing a hand line on the rear of the structure and the 'Delta' side of the structure, when the engine company on scene notified command that they had a water problem. Command requested the water department to the scene and requested a second-alarm to be transmitted, bringing the Latham Fire Department and Verdoy Fire Department to the scene. The engine companies notified command that they had no water pressure coming from the hydrants, and command notified the dispatcher that they may have a water main break. Car 66 requested units to find another hydrant and Verdoy's engine company, while arriving on scene, grabbed a hydrant from down the street and laid into the scene, establishing a water supply again. Heavy fire began to blow through the roof of the structure in the front of the building through the vent hole, the vent in the roof and the rear of the structure. Car 67 notified command that the fire was deep-seated into the attic, and to not allow crews to re-enter the structure until they had an adequate water supply in place.

As units recharged the super two hand lines and firefighters stacked up on the front door of the house, command notified all units that they had adequate water pressure again and firefighters pushed up the stairs to the second-floor where they had heavy heat pushing down to the floor, zero visibility and heavy fire blowing out the roof of the structure. Firefighters inside the building began to conduct an aggressive interior attack, driving back the heavy fire condition. As firefighters continued to work on the second-floor, the smoke condition from the vents in the building did not begin to change at all, and crews had a deep-seated heavy fire condition still traveling the entire length of the attic. The truck company on the exterior of the building notified the units inside of the structure to seek shelter as they were going to open up the master stream across the roof of the building from the vent hole.

Just before the truck company opened up the master stream, heavy fire continued to blow through the rear of the building again and out the 'Delta' side of the structure. Firefighters on the inside of the structure notified the truck company that it was clear for them to open up. The truck company opened up its master streams for about one minute on scene and then shut it down and firefighters on the second-floor made an aggressive push, knocking down all of the remaining heavy fire condition. Firefighters inside the garage notified command that they still had fire traveling in the roof area of the garage and needed a hand line. Firefighters inside the garage knocked down the remaining fire condition, and the smoke in the roof of the structure quickly began to change to a white gray color. Firefighters inside the structure notified command that they had the fire on the second-floor completely knocked down and were conducting extensive overhaul. Firefighters in the rear of the structure utilized a hand line and knocked down the remaining visible fire from the exterior portion of the structure.

Firefighters on the second-floor requested additional assistance from crews with hooks to begin to pull ceilings and walls. Firefighters on the second-floor and in the garage conducted extensive overhaul to check for any type of extension or remaining hot spots. Command had additional companies move up to different fire stations throughout the town of Colonie for coverage assignments, as the fire was a manpower-intensive operation. Once the fire was brought under control, Town of Colonie Fire Services made entry to the structure and began to conduct their investigation into what caused the fire. No firefighters were injured on scene, and the home was severely damaged by the fire. The fire is under investigation at this time.

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