Local News

September 21, 2013

City fire burns tenant; displaces college students

PSU student hurt in Couch Street fire; apartment dwellers displaced


Barrett and the other firefighters saw the people on the street; some were crying, even screaming.

A fire doesn’t really roar, he said, but you can hear its movement, a crackling sound. But you block it all out, though, working as a team to bring control to the chaos, he said.


Barrett climbed the ladder hastily thrown up against the front of the building, struggled through the window in his heavy turn-out gear and air pack.

Limato, unconscious, lay a few feet from the window.

“I got her head out the window as quickly as I could,” he said, so she could breathe some cleaner air, away from the carbon monoxide and cyanide building up in the room.

Barrett hollered down to Capt. Scott Lawliss for help, for the first ladder wasn’t quite tall enough to maneuver himself onto it while holding Limato. And he couldn’t risk dropping her the 30 feet to the ground.

“We need to move her quickly,” was his predominant thought, “because this room is getting unstable.”

Firefighter Mark Lawliss and Chris DeAngelo got the taller ladder in place, Eric Recore climbed it, and Barrett lifted Limato down to him.

Then he moved blindly around the space, which he thought perhaps was a kitchen, checking for other victims and finding none.

The super-heated air in the room had to be at least 110 degrees, he said, capable of causing burns without flames.

Even with his gear, he said, “I was feeling the heat.”


As Barrett reached the ground, he saw City Police Officer Richard Tucker trying to resuscitate a puppy.

City firefighters and others from Plattsburgh District 3 and South Plattsburgh Volunteer Fire Department were attacking the flames.

Because of the way the house was partitioned into units, Assistant Fire Chief Randy Stone said, “it was like fighting three separate fires.”

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