---- — CADYVILLE — Firefighters battled thick smoke, oppressive heat and heavy rain Tuesday as fire destroyed the attic and caused other damage to a home/taxidermy studio at 1168 Hardscrabble Road.
A good Samaritan driving by saw the smoke and called 911. And when he heard a dog barking in the house, he rescued it, said T.J. Strack, first assistant chief for the Saranac Volunteer Fire Department.
That man watched as firefighters tackled the fire; he wouldn’t give his name to the Press-Republican.
Homeowner Scott Thurber had been gone maybe 10 minutes, returning to find his home burning, said Clinton County Emergency Services Deputy Fire Coordinator Greg Timmons.
Distraught, Thurber hugged his dog and thanked the man who had saved it. Then he took the yellow Labrador retriever to a neighbor’s garage, away from the chaos.
INJURY, SMOKE INHALATION
One firefighter, Strack said, was taken by ambulance to CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh for treatment after falling down a set of stairs in the home. His condition wasn’t immediately available Tuesday.
Several other crew members were treated for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation by Saranac EMS at the fire.
Firefighters from eight departments took turns spraying water into the attic through a charred window before using a chain saw to cut into the side of the three-story home, which has an attached garage.
Timmons said crews were being extra cautious because the structure was older and could potentially become unstable.
Water from fire hoses poured off the back side of the roof as torrential rains moved in.
“This rain is not really helping,” Timmons said. “If anything, it’s hindering us right now.
He said changes in the density of the atmosphere during a storm, coupled with winds, wreak havoc on crews’ hard work to contain flames.
Strack said the fire completely gutted the attic and caused significant smoke damage to a second-floor taxidermy studio and bedroom in the home.
“At this point it, looks like an electrical issue but we are still investigating,” he added.
Thurber, he said, was meeting with insurance adjusters late Tuesday afternoon and that he was able to find a place to stay.
Saranac, Cadyville and Dannemora volunteer fire departments were called out initially; also assisting well into the afternoon were crews from departments from Morrisonville and Lyon Mountain, along with Plattsburgh District 3, South Plattsburgh Air and Clinton Correctional Facility.
Strack said his department was back in service by 3:57 p.m.
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