PLATTSBURGH — Firefighters contained a blaze at 57-59 Oak St. on Wednesday night mostly to a single unit, where a tenant fell asleep with a lit cigarette, officials say.
Heavy smoke was reported pouring from the structure at about 7:45 p.m., and a call was put out for Plattsburgh City Fire Department to respond.
A neighbor had reported the fire after seeing the smoke and hearing a dog barking, Fire Department Lt. Shawn Clark said.
When firefighters arrived, they found light smoke coming from a second-story window, he said.
They did a brief search of the property to attempt to locate any tenants inside.
All were accounted for, Clark said.
The building is home to 14, building manager Michael Hebert said.
Following the search, firefighters worked quickly to extinguish the flames on the second floor.
“The knockdown was pretty quick,” Clark said.
But the building had a balloon-frame structure, with space between the walls, that allowed the fire to quickly creep toward the third floor.
Though flames were visible on that level, he said, overall fire damage was minimal to the unit above the one where the blaze was centered.
And that one on the third floor, undergoing renovations, was vacant.
“In this case, we had more smoke in the rest of the building than any fire extension,” he said.
Firefighters used ladders to reach the third floor and a chainsaw to cut through and begin to fight back those flames.
As a precaution, power to the building was cut early on in the effort.
A crowd gathered to watch, including many who have apartments there.
“Hopefully, our side is all right,” Zachary Robare said as he watched the firefighters at work.
The apartment he shares with his girlfriend is toward the back of the structure, away from the fire, he explained.