January 30, 2014

Chateaugay blaze destroys home

CHATEAUGAY — A Chateaugay family lost their home and Boston terrier to a fire late Wednesday morning. 

The two-story house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Chateaugay Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Matt Helm said.

The call to the blaze at 220 Earlville Road came in at 11:30 a.m.

No one was home at the time, he said, with Marilyn Cowan at work and her two children, Zachariah McComsey, 15, and Kennedy McComsey, 13, at school.

Cowan was at work at Bare Hill Correctional Facility when she learned her house was burning at about 11:50 a.m. and made it there shortly after noon.

“It was already gone by the time I got home,” she said.

Cowan’s brother Scott Cowan heard about the fire from a police scanner report and had arrived at the home with other family members shortly before the first firefighters. 

“The flames were pretty good, and it didn’t take long for it to go,” he said.


Roughly 55 to 60 firefighters helped fight the blaze, Helm said, with two engines and eight tankers at the location. About 50,000 gallons of water was used to extinguish the fire. 

Assisting Chateaugay were departments from Burke, Constable, Ellenburg Center, Churubusco and Ellenburg Depot, along with Malone Callfiremen.

Lyon Mountain Volunteer Fire Department was on standby at the Chateaugay station with a pumper and firefighters.

Along with cold temperatures, winds passing over the flat landscape near the home made firefighting a challenge.

“There’s a wind that comes across where they are, blowing about 15 to 20 miles an hour, which sped the fire along pretty good,” Helm said.

Firefighting focused on the exterior of the building; the structure was a total loss. 


Nothing was able to be recovered from the home, Marilyn said, becoming emotional over the loss of her dog, Snowflake.

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