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Local News

May 9, 2013

Apartment house badly damaged by fire

PLATTSBURGH — Four-year-old Aiden Collins smelled smoke in his family’s apartment Wednesday afternoon.

”He said, ‘Mommy, it smells funny,’” Chelsea Bradt said.

She and her son ran outside and saw flames coming out of the second floor of the three-apartment building at 12 Goff Ave. in the City of Plattsburgh.

Bradt yelled, “The building’s on fire,” to her neighbors, who called 911.

BALL OF FLAMES

The Peru Volunteer Fire Department got there first, Plattsburgh City Fire Department Assistant Chief Randy Stone said.

His firefighters were about a mile-and-a-half in the woods fighting a wildland fire behind the SUNY Plattsburgh Field House when the call for the Goff Avenue blaze came in at about 3:40 p.m.

”I don’t know how it happened,” landlady Carla Wells said, her eyes on the building as crews tried to get the fire under control.

The fire was in the unfinished upstairs apartment that was used for storage, she said.

The gray steam-like smoke that had been rising from the roof into the blue, sunny sky turned black as an orange ball of flames erupted.

Two firefighters sprayed water on the flames from the empty lot next to the structure. Two others mounted the aerial ladder on City of Plattsburgh fire truck 289 and sawed a hole in the roof about half way between the front and rear of the building before attacking the blaze with water from above.

Then the ladder was hoisted higher so they could shift their aim.

A firefighter poured water on his head to cool off. Empty or partially consumed water bottles littered the ground next to the apartment building.

Plattsburgh City Police had blocked off Goff Street shortly after the fire call was issued; traffic on South Catherine Street moved slowly.

’FREAKING OUT’

Passers-by paused to watch as firefighters worked, some sitting on the grass in Riverside Cemetery.

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