ROUSES POINT — Erin Flett heard sirens — that’s why she got up early Monday and saw flames through a skylight in the former Saxony hotel.
”Luckily, she screamed, and we got up and got out of there,” her stepfather, Marc Chapman, said Tuesday.
Erin, 15, grabbed her computer before she, her mother, Suzanne Flett, and Chapman evacuated, but everything else was lost.
All Chapman was able to do before he left was get dressed, he said.
The family, who lived on the third floor of the four-story structure, lost almost everything when a fire that likely started in the elevator shaft consumed the top floor, badly damaged the one beneath and caused substantial smoke and water issues in the rest of the building at the corner of Lake and Champlain streets in the Village of Rouses Point.
Chapman has no insurance on the structure, which also included a recording studio and, on the first floor, some apartments under construction.
He, his wife and stepdaughter watched it burn from an ambulance parked in the Stewart’s Shop parking lot across the street.
Chapman had owned the property since 1966 and had lived there since 1986, he said.
”It’s very depressing now,” he said. “I just put so many years of work in the building.”
Rouses Point Volunteer Fire Department First Assistant Chief Walter Laramie said the cause was still under investigation.
Flames were devouring the top of the elevator shaft at the back of the building when firefighters arrived at about 2:45 a.m.
“(But) because of the damage to that area, it’s pretty much impossible to tell (what sparked the fire).”
Chapman said he expects the blaze started in the elevator motor at the top of the building.
“That shorted out somehow.”
The property is assessed at $200,000, according to the Clinton County Real Property Office.