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February 4, 2014

Blaze destroys Tupper Lake family's home

TUPPER LAKE — A raging house fire destroyed an Adirondack-style home on Byram Road here Sunday.

The cause was still under investigation Monday at the multi-level house that was home to Rob and Lisa Gillis and their two children, ages 10 and 12. 

“Franklin County Cause and Origin team ruled out electrical and are centering the investigation on a mechanical room with a chimney pipe that passed through it,” said Mark Picerno, second assistant fire chief for Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

The Gillises were not there when the fire erupted about 4:15 p.m.

FAST FIRE

Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun was visiting family not far from the house, located near the causeway at Simon Pond, and he was first to arrive.

“When I got there, the roofline was totally engulfed. The fire was fast, it was just so fast,” Maroun said.

“The house had a lot of wood and craftsmanship in it. It was an Adirondack-style, beautiful home.”

The family was out at a school event and skating, Maroun said.

Picerno said Tupper Lake had 34 fire company members at the blaze. Providing mutual aid were 15 or so firefighters from Piercefield, Long Lake, Cranberry Lake, Paul Smiths-Gabriels and Lake Placid fire departments.

FAMILY PET SAVED

When firefighters arrived, fire had broken through the roof, he said.

“It had been burning for quite a bit. Due to heavy fire, it was decided it would become a defensive posture. Nobody entered the building,” Picerno said.

But the family dog was inside.

“We broke a back window and called for the dog. He jumped up on the couch and wouldn’t come out,” Picerno said.

So firefighters reached in through the window and got hold of the dog’s collar, pulling him to safety.

FLAREUPS

There was no nearby hydrant on the dead-end road, so Tupper Lake firefighters posted a pumper truck at the corner of Raquette River and Byram roads near one there, sending the water a quarter mile to the blaze.

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