By SUZANNE MOORE News Editor
---- — ELLENBURG DEPOT — Tina Recore opened her door, looking for the source of the smoke she and her sister Dora Guerin smelled as they were watching a movie on Sunday evening.
“The smoke rolled right in,” Recore said. “When we went out on the porch, it was totally gray.”
But they could see Guerin’s kitchen — in the other half of the duplex, where the sisters live side by side — was engulfed by fire.
“The flames were coming out like crazy,” Recore said. “It was scary.”
She rushed for her phone and punched out 911.
“The Fire Department, they got here in less than 10 minutes,” she said. “They kept (the fire) from going over to my apartment, which was very good, because then we both would have lost everything.”
FIVE CATS DIED
As it was, Guerin’s five cats — Sisco, Trevor, Peaches, Talker and Smoky — died in the fire that destroyed the unit, and about all she was able to salvage were some treasured photographs.
“Her bedroom door was closed, and they were in a cabinet,” Recore said, standing with her sister in their yard and talking to the Press-Republican on a cellphone.
“That’s the only thing she got.”
LIKELY DRYER FIRE
It seemed the blaze sparked from a dryer fire, Ellenburg Depot Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Louis LaValley said on Monday.
His fire company was called out at 8:25 p.m. and arrived at 8:30 p.m. to find fire roaring through the apartment.
Firefighters began the effort from the outside but moved inside as the flames diminished, the chief said.
Assisting the Ellenburg Depot were crews from Ellenburg Center, Altona, Churubusco, Dannemora and Mooers.
“We knocked it down quick, saved at least one side,” LaValley said.
Firefighters rolled back into the station at about 10:10 p.m., Clinton County Dispatch said.
RED CROSS ASSISTANCE
Guerin had tossed some clothes in the dryer before joining her sister next door, Recore said.
And just before the smell of smoke caught their attention, she said, “she was going back over to see if they were dry.”
Guerin was left with only the clothes on her back, though the North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross gave both women some money for apparel and food, along with two nights’ stay at a hotel.
Recore’s apartment and belongings suffered smoke damage, and as she has asthma, she wonders just what she can salvage.
“I don’t think I’m going to get (her clothing) clean enough,” she said.
Monday, she had all the windows open to bring fresh air to her two small dogs inside the unit.
Both sisters have renters insurance, she said, but she said she and Guerin had been turned down for coverage for lodging.
Beyond Sunday and Monday nights, Recore said, “we have nowhere else to go.”
Recore has lived in the duplex for a decade, and Guerin eight or nine years.
Their landlord, Kevin Finley, “has been very good about helping us out with whatever he can do,” she said.
He provided her with a generator and told her it would likely take until the end of the week to restore electrical power to her side.
“We just appreciate everybody” who has been helping them, Recore said.
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