Local News

October 30, 2013

Power chair cleared in fatal DeChantal Apartments fire



The DeChantal Apartments building itself performed well structurally in terms of containing the blaze, the manager said. 

And the Fire Department, which has trained specifically to respond to the 10-story brick complex, performed with expertise, he said.

“The damages were wholly contained to one unit. It was not the building that appeared to have burned. It took very little water to stop the fire.”

Firefighters were able to use the fire-control hydrant system inside the structure and put the fire out with the hose on the building’s fifth floor.

Keough said the DeChantal building is not equipped with a sprinkler system, as it was built before such devices were commonplace.

“The building has a stand-pipe hydrant system,” the fire chief said, “with fire hoses connected to a water supply on every floor.”

The chief said fire crews did a great job of getting to the location and getting Schoonmaker out of the building.

“The Saranac Lake Fire Department was absolutely phenomenal; they’ve done drills at the building,” Feinberg said.

“They also systematically and efficiently went to every room and accounted for every person that was supposed to be in the building.”


The senior high-rise complex is up to date on all local, state and federal inspections, Feinberg said.

“It is inspected annually and also undergoes Housing and Urban Development inspections and New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal inspections,” Feinberg said.

In all, 110 DeChantal residents were evacuated during the fire, but they were allowed back into their apartments at about 7 p.m. Sunday. 

The Fire Department and high-rise staff tested the alarms “to make sure everything was working again,” the building manager said.

“The Fire Department turned everything over to the code officers. They then turned the building back over to us (building management).

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