HUDSON FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Hudson Falls man can add felony arson to his list of accusations after he allegedly torched a multi-unit apartment building on Maple Street Monday evening. The building had to be demolished after the devastating blaze, which displaced seven families.
Police say evidence gathered at the scene will prove that Peter Lemery, 47, intentionally sparked the fire. He will be arraigned at Washington County Centralized Arraignment Court on Friday.
Firefighters were first called to the multi-unit apartment building at about 8 p.m. Monday for a blaze on the first floor. “Initially, we thought we had the fire out,” Hudson Falls Fire Chief Tom Bover told NEWS10’s Harrison Grubb Tuesday. “It quickly spread due to the construction of the building, spreading to the second floor and into the cockloft area, and rapidly spread from there,” he continued.
After an overnight battle that lasted well into Tuesday morning, firefighters deemed the building structurally unsafe. Later that afternoon, it was reduced to rubble.
The building was considered historic by local police, who believe it was built in the 1930s. Plans for removing what’s left—a debris pile—are now underway, police said.
Crime Victim Assistants from the Washington County District Attorney’s Office will be working with the displaced families to ensure the victims are provided with information and provide any additional services needed. Several families are still being sheltered by the American Red Cross.
Lemery was already accused of first-degree reckless endangerment for the alleged crime. He’s been held at Washington County Correctional Facility since, where he awaits Friday’s court appearance.
Hudson Falls Police found Lemery, who lived in a downstairs apartment, and questioned him about the fire before he was charged. This is an ongoing and active investigation, and further charges are possible.