Dozens Left Homeless In New York State Apartment Fire

Rensselaer -- More than a dozen people were left homeless Thursday after their apartment building was damaged by fire.

All fire companies in the city of Rensselaer responded to the fire, and those from Clinton Heights and Defreestville provided mutual aid.

The fire damaged the second and third floors of the three-story wood frame multi-family building where at least three families lived, fire officials said. An adjoining building at 1103 First St. sustained only water and smoke damage.

The American Red Cross of No one was seriously injured in the two-alarm blaze, which began about 7 p.m. at 1103 First St., but two firefighters were treated at the scene for exhaustion. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but its origin does not appear to be suspicious, said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Falkouski.

Northeastern New York reported that a total of 15 people from three families were left homeless by the fire, and that organization was assisting them by providing emergency services such as food, clothing and temporary shelter.

Falkouski said it took firefighters about 90 minutes to bring the stubborn fire totally under control because interior walls had to be torn open to completely douse the blaze.

Rensselaer County Legislator Mike Stammel, who represents the city of Rensselaer, was at the scene. He said 11 children, ages 5 to 17, and five adults were left homeless by the fire.

He said the Mink-Claxton Hose Co. has established a fund at Key Bank where donations can be sent to aid the families. Monetary contributions can be sent to First Street Fire Victims Fund, c/o Key Bank, 16 Second Ave., Rensselaer, NY 12144.