Crews determine cause of Watervliet fire

Albany County

WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Around a dozen families have been displaced after a large fire in Watervliet. The scene is near the corner of 24th Street and Broadway.

Volunteers from the Northeastern New York Chapter of the American Red Cross provided immediate emergency aid to eleven families after today’s fire on Broadway in the City of Watervliet.  A twelfth family has not yet been reached by volunteers. 

Chief Thomas Garett says everyone was able to get out of the building. Three people have been taken to the hospital due to heat related injuries, one resident and two members of the Watervliet Arsenal.

Fire officials tell the fire started due to a lit cigarette being thrown on pet bedding. The resident tried to put out the fire themselves but was unsuccessful. No charges are expected to be filed.

Howard Barrett a resident says he is lucky to be alive after getting driven back by massive flames and extreme heat.

“I lost everything except the most important thing, I’m still a live,” said Barrett.

A blanket of dark heavy smoke covered the area as flames completely engulfed 3 apartment buildings. The roof of the middle of the three apartments was completely caved in.

“I don’t even want to look at it, it’s gone, its completely collapsed. The second floor is now sitting on the first floor, a long with the roof,”  said Barrett. 

Barrett was one of the many people inside the apartment building, when he started to smell smoke.

“The next thing I knew I was smelling something burning I looked in the kitchen and saw thick black smoke, and flames from the porch,” said he.

“We did search inside but we were driven out because of the flames. It’s tough three buildings going all at once and we were limited the amount of time you can spend in our fire gear,” said Chief Garrett.

People brought cases of water and ice as fire crews from Albany, Watervliet, Troy, Green Island, and Cohoes all worked together as the extreme heat took it’s toll.

“The temperature was probably 95 degrees and with the heat index it was probably well over 100 degrees. So will all this stuff on these guys are working hard,” said Chief Garrett. 

There are a few homes in the area of the fire without power, according to National Grid.

The Red Cross says all of the families are either staying with family or staying in local hotels.

Watervliet Housing Housing Community Center located on Whitehall St in the Quinn Apartment Complex is open for any residents in the area who don’t have power. The community center is accessible by foot on Whitehall St between 23rd and 24th Streets.

This is a breaking news story stay with for the latest updates.

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