October 15, 2012

Friends lend helping hands after house fire

SCHUYLER FALLS — Contractors have volunteered their skills to build Joe Ormsby and his family a new home.

The Schuyler Falls man had watched his family’s new house burn the morning of Aug. 2, just two days before they planned to move in.

A neighbor called Ormsby, and he rushed to the property, where firefighters were already fighting the blaze at about 6 a.m.

“The neighbors told me they heard an explosion” that they said blew out the windows of the structure, said Patty Todd, Ormsby’s long-time partner. Following the explosion, black smoke began rising from the house, the neighbor told Todd.


Ormsby had made a habit of checking on the house almost every night after dinner, Todd said.

But he didn’t go the night before the fire.

The fire investigator’s report stated the blaze was a result of spontaneous combustion, with all other sources ruled out, Todd said.

When Ormsby called Todd shortly after 6 a.m., she knew something was wrong, she said.

She dressed and drove the five minutes to the house.

“I could see the trail of smoke. I was crying to whole time,” Todd said. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”


The project was closest to Ormsby, though, she said. Devastated by the loss, he returned to work at his business, Ormsby Trucking, in Morrisonville two days after the fire to get his mind off it, Todd said.

“That was his baby. He put his whole heart into it,” she said. “It chokes him up to even talk about it.”

Ormsby had worked alongside the other contractors he hired. He was told the contractors had builder’s insurance, but the family has since found that wasn’t the case.

And Ormsby had taken an insurance policy out on the house but it expired several months ago and when he went to renew it, he was told he couldn’t.

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