Van Rensselaer Heights residents have overnight accommodations after loss of power, heat Tuesday morning


RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – All residents of Van Rensselaer Heights, a senior living facility in Rensselaer, have been evacuated after a loss of power and heat, on the coldest day of the season so far. First responders were on scene throughout the day helping to make sure everyone got out safely.

Police received reports of the outage around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, “We have a seven story building, no power, elevators, they have to carry people down the stairs,” said City of Rensselaer Police Detective Scott Earing.

The issue began when temperatures were around 5º, with a -10º wind chill, “It’s been a pretty complicated day,” said Earing. “Coldest day of the year so far, and all of a sudden the bottom falls out on you,” Renssealer Mayor Mike Stammel added.

But, with the coordination of several agencies, the city has made sure the people have been taken care of. Shortly after the power went out, residents were able to get transported to the Rensselaer Senior Center by CDTA buses.

“The mayor called me first thing when he found out about the problem, and asked if I could accommodate some people, and I said of course, that’s what we do,” said Gloria Fonda, the Director of Senior Services for Rensselaer County.

Also a joint effort on scene at Van Rensselaer Heights, where first responders made sure everyone got out of the building safely.

“We’re kinda trained for these things in general, I guess, and it all just sort of, luckily falls together. Everybody works together and that’s the part that needs to be done,” Earing explained.

The city and National Grid have accommodated those impacted in a local hotel room as National Grid works to repair the issue.

In response to the situation, Patrick Stella, a spokesman for National Grid, gave the following statement to News10 ABC:

“As soon as the building’s residents were safely evacuated this afternoon, National Grid received approval from the Rensselaer County Emergency Planning team to de-energize the facility and investigate the cause of the outage. Once the cause of the power interruption is determined, crews will make the necessary repairs and coordinate re-energizing the facility with the building’s electrician. We do not have an estimated time of repair at this time.

In the meantime, we are working with Rensselaer County to bring food and beverages to Van Rensselaer Heights residents at the local senior center and we are working to secure hotel rooms in the event power restoration efforts require extensive repairs that will continue into this evening. 

Patrick Stella, National Grid, Upstate New York Communications

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