By FELICIA KRIEG
---- — PLATTSBURGH — An electrical malfunction appears to have caused a fire that gutted a house at 9 Freeland Way early Thursday, leaving two women homeless.
Tammy Whipp and Karina Holmes were asleep when the blaze sparked, said Plattsburgh City Fire Department Assistant Chief Randy Stone.
”One of the residents woke up, and she saw the fire, then they exited the building and ran over to a neighbor’s house and reported (it),” he said.
The City Fire Department was called out to the home, located off U.S. Avenue south of the rotary by the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, at 1:20 a.m. and was back in service by 4:30 a.m.
The property is owned by Fesette Property Management; Tim Stone, a maintenance man for the firm who lives at Red Maple Apartments behind 9 Freeland, said he could see flames shooting out from the corner of the house by the back door.
The home measured between 750 and 1,000 square feet, Stone said.
”When we pulled up, the fire was outside the building. The porch was fully involved.”
When Whipp and Holmes left the residence, the door had been left open, and the flames had spread to the porch, he said.
By the time firefighters were able to enter the residence, about half of the home was burning, he said.
Four cats had lived in the home, and two were found dead after the fire, Stone said.
The others had not been located on Thursday.
The fire report assesses the damage at $50,000, he said.
”(The residents) had a lot of stuff in the building,” including a book collection, Stone said.
Volunteers from the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross gave emergency aid to Whipp and Holmes, including money for food, clothes and shoes.
South Plattsburgh Volunteer Fire Department sent a crew of about five to join the 20 firefighters from the city, and South Plattsburgh’s air truck was used to refill the oxygen tanks used by the firefighters when they entered the structure.
— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.