Press-Republican

March 7, 2014

Family displaced in apartment house fire

By BEN ROWE
Press-Republican

---- — AUSABLE FORKS — It was 8-year-old Isaiah Adams who alerted his family to a fire in their apartment early Thursday morning.

Isaiah’s father, Michael, had been warming a pan of oil to cook some french fries and egg rolls around 2:30 a.m. in their 14 Church Lane apartment in AuSable Forks.

The grease caught flame while Mr. Adams was sitting in the living room waiting for the food to cook.

Noticing the fire, Isaiah rushed to tell his father, who then called 911.

The pair share their home with Mr. Adams’s parents, Michael and Patty. Patty praised her grandson for warning his family about the fire.

“He was the savior here,” she said.

SEARCH FOR EXTINGUISHER

After calling emergency officials, Mr. Adams went door to door in the apartment complex, warning residents of the fire and trying to locate a fire extinguisher.

“If I’d had a fire extinguisher, I don’t think it would have gotten as out of hand,” he said, urging those who hear about the fire to buy the device if they don’t already own one.

“It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

Mr. Adams would eventually find an extinguisher next door at the home of the Rev. Chris Lauzon, pastor at nearby Holy Name Church.

After running back home, Mr. Adams was surprised at how effective the extinguisher was in fighting the fire. The blaze was mostly extinguished by the time firefighters arrived, he said.

SPREAD OF FIRE

While the fire mostly affected the downstairs kitchen, the flames had traveled up the wall from into one of the upstairs apartments, according to Fire Chief Michael Cross of the AuSable Forks Volunteer Fire Department.

“The damage was minimal compared to what it could have been,” Cross said.

The Adamses are in discussions with the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross about temporary lodging and other support details.

Mr. Adams and Isaiah will be staying with friend Tom Grems, while the Red Cross is arranging for Michael and Patty to stay at an area motel.

The other two residents will likely be able to continue living in the building, Cross said.

Lee C. Kazanas owns the apartment house, which is assessed at $131,300, according to the Essex County Real Property Office.

Kazanas could not be reached Thursday, and it was unknown if he or the other tenants have insurance.

COLD CHALLENGING

Jay and AuSable Forks EMS responded as mutual aid to Church Lane.

“It’s been a busy year for fires, and you can’t thank the guys enough to brave the frigid temperatures,” Cross said.

“We’re fortunate this one didn’t end up in a bigger tragedy than what it could have been.”

— Staff Writer Felicia Krieg contributed to this report.