One person suffered critical injuries in a massive fire here that completely destroyed a century-old four-apartment building early Friday.
St. Regis Falls Volunteer Fire Department Chief Wilbur Bailey wasn’t sure how many people lived at 16 North Main Street, but estimated between 10 and 15. He thought they were all there when the blaze broke out.
Adam Cox, second-assistant chief, arrived first, finding the building in flames and a man hanging by his hands from a second-story window.
He saw a ladder nearby and rushed to put it in place, so the man could climb safely down.
“If (Cox) hadn’t been there, he would have died,” Bailey said.
Trucks and firefighters arrived within minutes to see heavy smoke and flames billowing from the 5,100 square foot building.
The crew quickly helped other occupants escape, and also rescued a dog and a cat.
Three people were taken to Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, one of whom was transferred to Fletcher Allen Health Center in Burlington.
As of Friday afternoon, he was listed in critical condition, Bailey said.
“People are lucky to have made it out of there.”
Names weren’t available, he said.
Also, a firefighter whose hands were burned was taken to Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, where he was treated and released.
Another cat and dog didn’t survive the blaze.
AERIAL ATTACK VITAL
Three aerial trucks responded from Malone Callfiremen, Saranac Lake and Brasher-Winthrop volunteer fire departments. They played an extremely important role in keeping the fire contained, Bailey said, as other firefighters worked to run four lines from the river.
“Considering the size of the structure, and until the lines and water were available, the aerials were instrumental in getting the fire out,” he added.
About 100 firefighters from 23 departments, along with the St. Lawrence and Franklin County offices of emergency services, Franklin County Fire Police and Franklin County Rehab Team, worked to get the conflagration under control.
It took about 2 million gallons of water to fight the blaze; the flames were out by 7 a.m., Bailey said.