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February 5, 2014

P'burgh woman overwhelmed in fire aftermath

PLATTSBURGH —  A neighbor called Sandra LaPierre to tell her house was on fire and her three dogs were still inside.

“I drove there like a crazy person,” the Plattsburgh woman said.

One of the pups had been rescued by the time she reached her home on Cusprini Way in Underwood Trailer Park.

“I was screaming for the others.”

City of Plattsburgh firefighters saved them from the smoke-filled interior of the mobile home.

“I’m forever grateful for that,” she said.

Her Akita-chow mix, Dakota, cocker-Schnauzer Trinity and black Lab-pitbull puppy Keishia were traumatized but are otherwise healthy, though eight finches and two parakeets died in the Jan. 25 fire, which started in the home’s crawl space.

‘FURNACE SPARKED FIRE’

Smoke detectors sounded the alarm just after 8 p.m., Plattsburgh City Fire Department Lt. Shawn Clark said, and neighbors alerted them about the dogs inside the house.

About $10,000 in damage was caused to the structure, with a loss of about $5,000 in contents, he said.

Plattsburgh City Police ruled the furnace as the culprit.

“It was leaking,” LaPierre learned after the fire.

Fortunately, fire didn’t spread from the crawl space to the rest of the house, so there is only smoke damage in the living quarters, she said.

‘CAN’T AFFORD MATERIALS’

LaPierre just wants to go home.

“Everything in my home is salvageable, and my home is, too, if I can pay to fix it.”

A contractor, LaPierre said, told her repairs could be made for between $3,000 and $4,000, and she has family and friends with building skills who are volunteering to do the work.

But she has no insurance on the mobile home and no money to buy the materials she needs, she said.

She bought the 1988 mobile home several years ago and only has a signed receipt saying she paid it off.

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