TUPPER LAKE — A large fire in Tupper Lake seriously damaged an apartment building Saturday night.

According to Tupper Lake Fire Chief Carl Steffen, word of a blaze at 274 Park St. came in at 8:58 p.m.

While initial reports indicated people might have been trapped inside the two-story, wood-frame structure, he said crews were able to confirm that everyone had vacated the building.

The structure housed four apartments, three of which were occupied.

“It originally was a food market, and years ago, it was converted into apartments," Steffen said.

One female occupant, whose name was not available Sunday, was transported from the scene to Adirondack Medical Center to obtain medication for a pre-existing medical condition, as her medication was lost in the fire, according to Tupper Lake Mayor and Volunteer Firefighter Paul Maroun. 

“No one was injured," he said. 

Flames destroyed two of the apartments, Steffen said, and "there was heavy smoke and water damage to the other apartments.”

He hadn't yet confirmed Sunday afternoon who owned the property or whether it was insured. In addition, Steffen wasn't certain whether the building's tenants had renters' insurance.

“It was quite a lengthy fight to put the fire out, and most of those occupants had left the area before we finished up," said Steffen, who remained at the scene until 3 a.m.

Crews' initial efforts focused on making sure flames didn't spread to neighboring structures, he noted, and ensuring everyone was out of the burning building, as well as those it threatened.

Firefighters then proceeded with both exterior and interior attacks of the blaze, the chief said.

Mutual aid was provided by Piercefield, Paul Smiths/Gabriels, Saranac Lake, Bloomingdale and Lake Placid fire departments, while station coverage was provided by departments in Duane, Saranac and Star Lake.

Also assisting on scene were Tupper Lake Rescue Squad, Ladies Auxiliary, Tupper Lake Water/Sewer, Tupper Lake Electric Department, Tupper Lake Police and State Police.

Additionally, the Franklin County Cause and Origin Team was called in to investigate the incident.

The fire was not considered suspicious, Steffen noted, and was thought to have started on a second-floor enclosed porch, which housed an electric heater and wiring that appeared to have been shorting out.

The North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross assisted one of the property's occupants with lodging Saturday night and provided that individual and another adult with food, clothing and seasonal garments on Sunday, according to a media release from the organization.

A family of four, comprising two adults and two children, were also displaced by the fire and received Red Cross assistance with food, clothing, shoes and seasonal garments.

"They also received infant supplies, a portable crib, linens and Mickey Mouse stuffed toys for the children," the release said. "Volunteers will remain available to help all of the building's residents as they make plans for recovery in the coming days."


Email Ashleigh Livingston: alivingston@pressrepublican.comTwitter: @AshJLivingston

Ashleigh Livingston reports education and health news. She is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, where she also serves as an adjunct lecturer.

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