A family of seven with a baby due in July is homeless after a fire gutted their house at 2783 Route 95 Tuesday evening.
Karissa Cook, Eugene Burk and their joined family of five children were not at home when the fire erupted just after 6 p.m. about two-tenths of a mile from the intersection with Route 37 in front of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino.
Firefighters from the Hogansburg-Akwesasne Fire Department got the call at 6:09 p.m. Tuesday and were joined by volunteers from Fort Covington and Bombay.
The fire rekindled at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday but was quickly doused within 30 minutes.
Bruce Johnson of the Franklin County Cause and Origin Team was called in to determine the exact cause of the fire. It is believed to have started with an electrical outlet near the back porch, the family said.
The five-bedroom, ranch-style house is owned by Karissa's mother, Deborah Cook, who said there is no insurance coverage.
Deborah said her daughter, Burk and the children were in Massena shopping when one of Karissa's friends called to tell her about the fire.
"I was in Massena at an Avon meeting when my daughter called and told me. My friend and I left right away and got there as fast as we could, and oh," she said.
"The fire department was great. They got there right away and did a very good job."
Cook said a patrol officer from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police was at the home, anxious that people were still inside.
"But he was able to talk to my daughter on my cellphone and was reassured that everybody was out of the house," Cook said.
"He was very concerned."
A garage situated just south of the home was scorched and singed on the outside, but it did not catch fire. Cook said a vehicle was moved to a safer spot so it was not destroyed.
The family dog, two cats, two lizards and a tank of fish all survived the blaze.
Cook said that about three hours after the fire, her son, his friends and other family friends were working to see what they could salvage from the rubble.
"But it was getting dark, so they couldn't see," she said Wednesday. "They're going over there today to get the washer and dryer, the stove, anything they can still use."
Email Denise A. Raymo at: firstname.lastname@example.org