PORT HENRY — A late-night fire over the weekend left a family of six homeless in Port Henry.
The fire at 3140 Broad St. was called in about 10 p.m. Saturday, bringing firefighters from Port Henry, Moriah, Mineville-Witherbee, Crown Point, Ticonderoga and Westport.
Stephen and April Clodgo and two of their four children, boys ages 7 and 18, were sleeping in the house at the time.
“The owner said smoke alarms went off and awoke him,” Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said.
“Mr. Clodgo came out, and the Christmas tree was on fire. He tried to extinguish it with a small extinguisher, to no avail, and they had to evacuate.”
Port Henry Fire Chief James Hughes said the Village Department of Public Works called the fire in.
“Our Village DPW alerted us; they were out plowing and spotted smoke. When I arrived, I saw heavy smoke from the north side attic vent.
“The fire was very deep-seated in the building in the vicinity of the living room.”
The family pet, a cat, was rescued by firefighters.
The Clodgos and their four children, ages 7, 11, 12 and 18, are staying at a motel, he said, but were planning to eventually stay with relatives in Vermont.
The North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York provided assistance to the family with clothing, shoes, seasonal garments, food, storage containers and lodging.
The Essex County Fire Investigation Unit is looking into the fire, Jaquish said, and the cause appears to be accidental but is still undetermined.
“It was a very fast-moving fire,” Hughes said. “This residence has gone through some remodeling over the past several years, and that presented some challenges in terms of how rooms were out together and building construction.”
He said it spread to the attic from the living room and took several hours to bring under control.
Hughes said firefighters were at the fire until 3:23 a.m. Sunday.
“I think things went very well. It was one of the most stubborn fires we’ve faced in years.”
The family apparently had insurance on the home, which sustained heavy damage.
Jaquish praised firefighters for quick response under adverse conditions.
“It was a hard fire to put out,” he said. “It was in the middle of a snowstorm.”
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