Press-Republican

January 29, 2014

Malone house fire claims woman's life

Two adults being treated for injuries

By SUZANNE MOORE, News Editor
Press-Republican

MALONE — Pam Taylor died in a room on the second floor of her burning home at 20 South St. in Malone early Tuesday morning.

As of late afternoon, Malone Village Police had no word on the condition of her 19-year-old son, who suffered severe burns, or her boyfriend, who was hospitalized with smoke inhalation.

Sgt. Robert Fountain and Officer William Martin helped the men from the home, Police Chief Chris Premo said.

“Our officers happened to be fueling up the patrol car at the Department of Public Works,” he said, “and saw some kind of a fire.”

The DPW facility is on College Street, maybe a quarter of a mile away from 20 South.

Fountain and Martin rushed to the residence, arriving first, and found Taylor’s boyfriend on the porch.

Then her son made his way out of the house with their assistance, Premo said.

“It was pretty much fully involved at the time,” he said of the fire.

SEARCH EFFORTS FUTILE

Someone in the home had called 911 call to report the fire at 4:23 a.m. Franklin County Fire Coordinator Ricky Provost said. 

Fast-moving flames were engulfing the structure on both floors as the first firefighters arrived six minutes later, just a few minutes after the police officers.

“Bystanders reported several victims trapped within the structure,” a police press release said, and several attempts were made to enter the home to find them.

Bitterly cold temperatures hampered the firefighting effort, Malone Callfiremen Chief Paul Langdon said, noting the temperature hovered below zero. 

Flames licked at the homes on either side of Taylor’s house.

An elderly woman was evacuated from one of them. That structure and an unoccupied home on the other side suffered some minor exterior damage, the fire chief said.

Two vehicles parked at the Taylor residence were destroyed by the fire.

AUTOPSY TODAY

Premo said the names of Taylor’s son and boyfriend will not be released until today, following the autopsy of the 45-year-old woman.

The 19-year-old was first taken to Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone then transferred to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

Taylor’s boyfriend was brought to Alice Hyde, as was a firefighter suffering from dehydration who was treated, released and then returned to assist at the fire.

All of South Street remained shut down as firefighters dealt with hot spots into the afternoon.

It wasn’t possible to enter the building for several hours, officials said, because of the heat and instability of the structure.

Shortly after noon Tuesday, a few firefighters were able to enter the ground floor of the badly charred home and were handing some items out through the windows.

Taylor’s body was found in mid afternoon; she was pronounced dead at 2:40 p.m. by Franklin County Coroner Brian Langdon. 

It wasn’t necessary to shore up the building to be able to reach her, Premo said, “because the place where she was found was fairly secure.”

Mutual aid came from Bangor, Westville, Burke, Brushton and Hogansburg/Akwesasne volunteer fire departments.

INVESTIGATION ONGOING

The cause of the fire remained under investigation on Tuesday afternoon, led by the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. Assisting are Malone Police, State Police and Franklin County Office of Emergency Services fire investigators.

South Street between Pearl and Duane streets will remain closed until the fire probe is over, police said.

Taylor was buying the home, built in 1895, from Richard Spaulding of North Bangor, who owns the mortgage. He said he took it over in 2011 from Marlene Hawkins, who moved out of the area. Taylor had been making payments to him since then.

The residence is a total loss, police said.

‘SADDENED BY NEWS’

Taylor was an admitting representative at Alice Hyde Medical Center, according to her Facebook page. She was also a graduate of Franklin Academy and North Country Community College. 

Her Facebook page also reveals she and many of her friends were fans of musician Rick Springfield.

“I am saddened by the news of our Rick sister, Pamela Taylor who passed away today in a house fire,” Carol Keen wrote on her own wall. “Please keep her family and friends in your prayers. You will be missed!”

“So very heartbroken,” Michelle Tellier wrote. “Rip Pamela Taylor you will be missed. Praying for you and your family.” 

— Editor Lois Clermont, Photographer Rachel Moore and Contributing Writer Amy Heggen contributed to this article.