ROUSES POINT — Marc Chapman says he will rebuild what he can of the former Saxony — his home and music studio.
Keeseville engineer Thomas LaBombard, he said, “has said that the building can be salvaged from the third floor down.”
The four-story structure at the intersection of Champlain and Lake streets in Rouses Point caught fire early April 22. Marc, his wife, Suzanne Flett, and her daughter, Erin Flett, were asleep in their top-floor apartment when fire-truck sirens woke them.
Erin saw flames through a skylight in a hallway, and the family escaped safely.
“It’s been a devastating thing to lose your home in an hour and a half,” Marc said.
The blaze destroyed the roof and much of the fourth floor, and there is smoke and water damage elsewhere in the large building, but there has been an outpouring of support from friends and community members since then.
“I can’t believe the number of people that have offered their help,” Marc said.
A benefit for Marc, Suzanne and Erin is set for Sunday at the Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall in Altona.
“Everything is going straight to Marc,” said Sue Welch, one of the benefit organizers.
“We’re trying to rebuild slowly but surely,” Marc said.
LaBombard is drawing up the demolition and construction plans, he said, and submitted an analysis of the structure to the Village of Rouses Point for the fate of the building.
“I have informed them that I would like to get my demolition permit as soon as possible,” Marc said.
Soon after the fire, Rouses Point Code Enforcement Officer Clifford Sterling deemed the building unsafe, as he does with any structure that is seriously damaged.
He said he has looked over LaBombard’s report but will wait until all required official documents have been received to talk with Marc and the engineer.
“We’re still waiting on all the blueprints and stuff like that.”
Marc will also have to meet with the Village Board to discuss the fate of his property, Sterling said.
“It’s a process.”
The paperwork is due in a couple of weeks, he said.
Marc had been renovating the first floor of the structure into apartments before the fire happened.
He is waiting for cost estimates from Jeffords Steel and Engineering Company in Plattsburgh for the steel beams and other materials he will need, he said.
Chazy Hardware is calculating the price of a new roof for him.
“They’re figuring out exactly what I need for materials,” Marc said. “The next thing is to get the money.
“Right now, I don’t have much money, but right now I’m interested in somebody that might be interested in a partnership.”
Marc had no insurance on the property, and so no investigation was launched to determined the fire’s cause. It appeared to have sparked in the elevator shaft at the back of the building, however.
He said he’s hoping demolition of the fourth floor and construction can start soon.
Until the building is habitable again, he and his family will continue to live in their RV and a mobile home that his neighbor and friend Joe Turner offered to them.
“I want to thank everyone that has participated in helping me along the way,” Marc said, which includes everyone from the fire departments to those who have made donations.
Marc said he is also thankful for what he was able to salvage from the building, including a B3 Hammond organ and the baby grand piano.
The organ is damaged and in need of repair, and the piano may need fixing, too, his daughter, Susie Chapman said.
She is organizing the benefit along with Sue and Rick Welch, Nick and Nicci Molinski, Randy Vaughn, Andrea MacDonald and Tony Bulriss.
“It was a big collaboration,” Sue Welch said.
Plans for the benefit started just days after the fire, she said.
“As soon as I found out about it, I wanted to do something. And there were a couple other people that also had the same idea.”
She has known Marc since the 1970s, when he played in local band the Triads.
“The Saxony used to be my weekend home,” she said.
Susie said the benefit was meant to be a surprise for her father. But he saw a poster advertising the event a few weeks ago.
He’s still not privy to all the details, though, Sue Welch said.
“I’ve been kept out of the loop,” Marc said.
Those who attend the benefit will be treated to live music in the Gold Room of the Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall in Altona.
The space was donated for the event by Peck and Jane Sample, Susie said.
Among the items that will be raffled off are a motorcycle “spa” detailing valued at $250 from Casey Spiegel, a Naked Turtle gift certificate, a flat-screen television and swing from Kinney Drugs, a charcoal grill with grilling accessories, a gift basket from Champlain Telephone Co., a framed picture of Fort Montgomery and some paintings by a Rouses Point artist.
Saxony hotel T-shirts and hats will be for sale, as well as CDs of Marc’s old group, the Saxony Stage Band.
“Those (CDs) were all lost in the fire. I luckily had a copy,” Susie said.
Area businesses have been generous, Sue said.
“Nobody has refused us because Marc’s very well known around here.”
As far as the day of the benefit goes, she said, “I hope we pack the place.”
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IF YOU GO
The Friends of the Saxony Benefit takes place from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday in the Gold Room at Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall, 47 Woods Falls Road, Altona.
Local bands will perform, concession stand, bar, friends will reminisce about the Saxony bar and music studio.
Raffles, 50/50. Admission is free; donation jar to repair instruments.
Businesses who wish to donate items for the raffles can contact Sue Welch at 298-2596 or Nicci Molinski 298-3674. Monetary donations can be made online at https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/6V04f or search "Saxony Benefit" at www.fundrazr.com.
As of Wednesday, the online fundraiser total was $2,620. Cash donations will also be accepted at the event.