New York Crews Respond to Fatal Fire

On Tuesday, March 3 at approximately 11 p.m., the Washington County 9-1-1 Center dispatched the Fort Edward Fire Department, along with pre-planned mutual aid from neighboring towns, to a reported structure fire in the area of 2473 County Route 46.

As Fort Edward Fire Chief Matt Hurlburt and Assistant Chief Bill Brown were approaching the area, Chief Hurlburt advised the dispatch center of heavy flames visible, and he requested the first alarm tanker assignment to the scene.

Chief Hurlburt was advised by a neighbor that he believed the elderly female occupant was still inside the house. The first fire apparatus to arrive on the scene was Engine-Rescue 271, the crew was faced with a fully involved two-story dwelling, with such heavy fire, an offensive attack was impossible .

To make matter worse, the temperature was minus 10, causing the common problems such as apparatus and hose line freeze ups and severe icing, making walking and maneuvering on the scene hazardous.

Another immediate issue was the lack of water available during the initial attack, the location of this fire was in a remote area of the town that is not serviced by fire hydrants. It took several hours to bring the fire under control.

Utilizing the Washington County Department of Public Safety's Mobile Command Post to coordinate their efforts, Incident command worked with the Washington County Bureau of Fire and the Cause and Origin Team to begin their investigation, interviewing witnesses and first arriving fire fighters. At 11:00hrs. the next day, they retrieved the remains of the lone occupant. Due to heavy fire damage the cause of fire was ruled undetermined. An autopsy would later determine that she died of smoke inhalation.

Fire departments from Fort Edward, Hudson Falls, Kingsbury, Argyle, South Glens Falls, Schuylerville, South Queensbury and Fort Edward EMS assisted at the scene, while Hartford, Bay Ridge and Gansevoort departments handled cover assignments and the Fort Edward Fire Department Auxiliary provided refreshments.