September 22, 2013

Couch Street fire update

After a devastating fire at 15 Couch St. early Friday morning displaced 11 residents and seriously injured one, those affected considered what lay ahead.

The injured woman, Alexa Limato, had been airlifted from CVPH Medical Center to the Clark Burn Center of Syracuse Upstate University Hospital. On Saturday afternoon, her condition was listed as critical but stable.

“Our hearts are with her and her family as she struggles to recover from her injuries,” SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling said in a statement. Limato, along with seven of the other residents, is Plattsburgh State student.

The owner of the building, Thomas Latinville, could not be reached for comment.

Among those displaced from the building was Catherine Waldron, 21. Waldron said that she and the other Plattsburgh State students at 15 Couch had been offered dorm rooms on campus to stay in. However, Waldron was staying with friends instead.

“It’s good to be with friends now. It’s nice to have them around.”

At the time of the fire, she said, she and her roommate were asleep. Their neighbor woke them up and sounded the warning.

“We just grabbed our cat and ran down the stairs,” said Waldron.

They made their escape, and from across the street, they watched as the firefighters braved the burning building to rescue Limato and extinguish the blaze.

“It was surreal,” Waldron said.

Since Waldron lived on the second floor of the building, she said that her apartment seemed to have been completely burned. According to City Police detectives, the fire started in the electrical wiring of one of the second floor apartments. The detectives determined its cause to be accidental.

Waldron is now looking for a new apartment. However, she has been touched by the support that she and her fellow residents have received. 

“It’s been great how a lot of people have offered help and places to stay.” The college provided new textbooks to replace those lost in the fire, and the Red Cross has provided assistance, she said. 

“Friends and family and the people in the school have all been great.”

Her conclusion?

“It’s been a really hard experience, but people are helping us get through it.”

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