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July 23, 2010

Fire destroys beloved Adirondack musician's home

Lake Clear fire raged; destroyed studio, instruments

LAKE CLEAR — An immense house fire Wednesday evening destroyed the home and studio owned by popular Adirondack singer/songwriter Roy Hurd.

The fire was reported at 5:42 p.m., according to Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department dispatch, and 33 firefighters responded.

The two-story historic house at 9 Station St. where Hurd and his wife, Amy Kohanski, lived, was engulfed when firefighters arrived.

"It was fully involved, with flames showing partially through the roof and out the windows," said Saranac Lake Fire Driver Aaron Donaldson.

Hurd had a studio in the house and lost instruments, recordings and artwork.

'WALL OF FLAME'

Michael Puccini lives on nearby Fish Hatchery Road and noticed smoke at about 5:20 p.m.

"Neighbors in the white house next door first noticed something was burning," he said. "At the time, I was at my computer trying to log on. There were a lot of lightning strikes going on out there.

"I started noticing black, thick smoke through the trees while it was raining pretty heavily."

Puccini went outside to see what was going on.

"Then I saw a wall of flame."

It is about a 15-minute drive from the Saranac Lake Fire Station to Lake Clear.

"The firemen had a pretty good setup," Puccini said. "State troopers were out there, too, keeping people back away. It was a hot fire."

FORMER SCHOOL

The house was once a part of the Saranac Inn stagecoach station and later converted into a school that Puccini's grandmother attended from 1905 to 1909.

"It was a very beautiful house, with knotty pine paneling. For many years, in 1950s and 1960s, a very rich Frenchman put a lot of work into the house and property," Puccini said.

He spent a lot of time inside and on the property growing up.

"It's been there more 125 years. A lot of history burned up with that house."

Hurd could not immediately be reached this morning, and fire dispatchers did not readily know if the property was insured.

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