Sept. 20--PLATTSBURGH -- SUNY Plattsburgh student Alexa Limato suffered severe burns in a fire at 15 Couch St. early Friday.
"She was like half in, half out (of a third-floor window), waiting for the Fire Department to arrive," Plattsburgh City Fire Department Assistant Chief Randy Stone said.
Firefighters rushed to set up a 35-foot ladder to reach her, but, he said, "with the heat and smoke, with no protection, she was overcome."
Limato, 21, fell back inside. Firefighter Matt Barrett climbed through the window and lifted her out to another responder on a ladder.
Limato was airlifted to the Clark Burn Center at Syracuse Upstate University Hospital, where she was listed in stable but critical condition on Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, firefighters battled the flames inside and from outside the eight-apartment building.
"It was like fighting three separate fires," he said, the way the house was partitioned into units.
The back and middle sections were gutted, he said, but the front suffered less damage.
That's where Limato was, and while the fire was less intense there, flames rolled through the black smoke, and flashover was imminent.
"Unfortunately, with super-heated air, it doesn't take long to burn," Stone said.
Flames were showing from both sides of the house when the department arrived at about 1:30 a.m., he said.
The fire had been going for awhile before it was called in, he said.
City Fire Department was assisted at the fire by Plattsburgh District 3 and South Plattsburgh to fight the flames.
CVPH Ambulance took Limato to CVPH Medical Center in the city. Morrisonville EMS responded as well.
Peru Volunteer Fire Department gave backup at City Station 2, and Cumberland Head stood by at District 1.
Clinton County Dispatch said crews from Beekmantown also turned out.
Stone said firefighters kept a fire watch at the property for about two hours in case it flared again, with the main force heading back to stations between 6:30 and 7 a.m.
More details will be added to this story as they become available.
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Copyright 2013 - The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.