SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – When the fire started on Moyston Street in Schenectady Tuesday night, neighbors who live just across the street from it sprang into action.
They came outside, moved their cars which allowed emergency responders to get in and get people who needed help to safety.
"People were just scrambling trying to get out to save their lives," said Marvin Carter who lives right across the street from the blaze.
Carter says he was inside his home celebrating the Christmas holiday with his family.
"Just enjoying Christmas Eve," said Carter. Shortly after 9:30 that night he first noticed the flames.
"All of a sudden we hear some commotion outside," said Carter.
That commotion was fire ripping through one of the homes and causing damage to other nearby buildings.
"We go out on to the upper porch," said Carter. "And the house directly across the street is just totally engulfed in flames."
Carter then quickly went to work.
"The first thing we do is just go into action," said Carter. "Just come outside, moving cars because we knew that fire fighters are on their way."
But before firefighters arrived, Carter said he learned that his neighbor was trapped and in trouble.
"We come back down and we are notified by neighbors that there is someone still inside the building," said Carter.
He says it was an elderly neighbor, yelling for help, with only one way out.
"The older gentleman is in the window," said Carter. "And he doesn't want to jump but he's coaxed to jump out, but he [then] hits the ground and it's kind of scary."
Carter says the man landed in between two of the burning buildings.
"He lands and he becomes unresponsive," said Carter. "And we kind of directed the police department, that got here first, that there is someone in the alleyway that needs help."
Fire officials say two people were taken to the hospital Tuesday night, one had to be treated for burns. But both are expected to be okay.
One of the major elements fire fighters were dealing with Tuesday night was freezing water. Mist that was coming off the water that was being sprayed on the fire kept falling back on to the fire fighters and instantly freezing. Railings, sidewalks, steps, and trees – anything nearby – ended up coated in ice, including the fire fighters.
Still, Carter says one good thing that prevailed through the fire and ice that devastated many people on Christmas Eve, is that everyone inside made out alive.
"Everybody is just in the spirit, nobody would expect something like this to happen," said Carter. "Fortunately though, everyone escaped with their life and everything else can be replaced."
Fire officials say they will be back Thursday morning to continue their investigation into the cause of the fire.
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