KEENE VALLEY — It was a pathway home.
Last November, Kristen Combs and her boyfriend, Zachary Peltier, bought the home at 13 Mason Young Way in Keene Valley.
The couple currently live in Colorado, but Combs had grown up in Keene Valley and had hoped to use the house as a place to stay while visiting her hometown.
“Our plan was to spend holidays there and at least a few weeks in the summer until we were able to move back permanently, but that was several years in the future,” she said.
Those plans took a tragic turn late Sunday night when a fire broke out and destroyed the Keene Valley home.
Essex County Dispatch put out a call for the fire at 11:42 p.m. with Keene Valley Volunteer Fire Department responding.
Mutual aid departments from Keene, Upper Jay, Jay and Lake Placid also responded, along with Essex County Air One and Essex County fire investigators.
Combs said they had been renting the home to a couple who had wanted to be closer to family living in Keene Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine.
That couple “heard a pop and saw flames,” Combs said, but were able to get out safely.
Firefighters used the nearby Ausable River as a draft site to help with water supply, with tankers shuttling water to the fire.
“With an extreme amount of fire load, teams attacked with sheer determination throughout the night,” Keene Valley Fire Chief Stephen “Rusty” Hall wrote in a press release.
“The men and women of the area departments battled until the end, allowing Essex County Fire Investigators to do their important job,” he said.
Hall gave “special thanks to Essex County 911 dispatchers, Essex County Sheriff Deputy’s, our mutual aid departments and our secondary support members that provided sandwiches and beverages along with others we have missed. Teamwork all around. Our community salutes you.”
WAS ‘DREAM HOUSE’
Combs also gave thanks “to all the fire departments that came out in full force” to try and save the home, but she said the house had been left a “total loss.”
Hall said an investigation determined that the fire was likely caused by an electrical problem.
All departments were back in service by 5 a.m.
Combs said there was insurance on the house, but the emotional loss was still raw Monday night.
“She was our dream house and retirement plan and our hearts are broken,” she said.
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