WATERVLIET, N.Y. – A fire broke out at the Fenimore Trace Apartments in Watervliet early Friday morning damaging 21 apartment units.
Watervliet Fire Chief Scott Skinner tells NEWS10 ABC, the fire was so devastating that it could have easily turned deadly.
The call came in around 3:30 a.m. Friday morning for a fully-involved fire at Fenimore Trace Apartments. Crews arrived to find the fire was rapidly engulfing building 12 and spreading to building 11. Skinner says the fire was so devastating and fast moving that people were hanging out of smoke-filled windows, ready to jump.
One man had to be told by firefighters not to drop his baby from a third floor window, as crews tried to get a ladder to him.
"The people that came out were coughing. They had a lot of smoke. They were very lucky," Skinner said. "They were hugging the firefighters. It was a very bad situation where people could've died here, and the guys all came together and did a really good job."
Fire crews are still investigating the cause of the fire, but Skinner says it does not appear suspicious.
As for the injured, one woman has suffered burns; three adults and a baby were all treated for smoke inhalation but everyone is expected to be okay.
The father who nearly tossed his baby girl out of the window to save her life told NEWS10 ABC that he now has nothing but the clothes on his back. He lived in the apartment for three years with his wife and baby, and has no renters insurance. He says he's grateful to be alive.
The Red Cross says they are assisting 14 families, totalling 24 people, that were affected by the fire with food and clothing.