By BEN ROWE
MOOERS — Fire destroyed a Mooers residence Tuesday morning, leaving a family of five homeless.
At 8:34 a.m., Mooers Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the home of Robert and Lachana Thompson at 474 North Star Road, according to Clinton County Dispatch.
The fire had been reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol agents passing through the area, Mooers Volunteer Fire Department President Jeff Menard said.
Upon arrival, firefighters found a car in the driveway and the house filled with smoke. Thinking there might still be people inside, Mooers Volunteer Fire Department Chief Raymond Phair said, two firefighters were sent in to search the house.
“Once we figured out there was nobody there, we did back out, and it was pretty intense,” he said.
The firefighters battled the blaze from outside the home, eventually cutting holes to vent the smoke and allow an interior attack.
Though the structure of the house was left intact, Menard said, the interior was gutted.
“I believe it’s going to be a total loss, between the water and the smoke and the heat,” he said.
Assisting Mooers were volunteer departments from Champlain; Hemmingford, Quebec; Ellenburg Depot; Altona; Chazy; Rouses Point; and West Chazy; along with Champlain EMS. Ellenburg Center Volunteer Fire Department was on standby.
Phair said the timing of the fire was the reason multiple departments were called to help. Many Mooers volunteers were at work at that time and unable to respond.
“We’re lucky enough to have a few — very few — businesses release some of their men to go fight fires,” Phair said.
In particular, Phair wanted to thank Dragoon’s Farm Equipment and Leon J. Menard Home Improvement for allowing their firefighter employees to leave and assist with the efforts.
Menard said the fire was mostly extinguished by 11:30 a.m., and Mooers was back in service shortly after noon. One truck remained at the home until fire investigators had finished there.
Phair said the cause of the fire was still under investigation as of Tuesday evening but was not being treated as suspicious.
A hot water boiler was considered a possible ignition source, he said.
North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross officials were there to offer food, clothing and other necessities to the family.
The Thompsons were staying with neighbors on Tuesday.