ELLENBURG DEPOT —
By MATTHEW HAMILTON
and KELLI CATANA
ELLENBURG DEPOT — The fire that consumed a Sunderland Way home here early Monday got a head start that could not be overcome.
“It was totally engulfed,” neighbor Dennis LaBombard said Monday afternoon, as crews quenched a rekindle at the property owned by Chris Rowe. “By the time it got noticed, it was an inferno. It’s an awful tragedy.”
Courtney Bilow, who lives next door, was awakened when she realized an air conditioner in her house had stopped working. She saw the fire and called 911.
The houses stood close enough together that the heat of the flames was peeling off some of Bilow’s siding.
“Initially, we started just protecting the neighboring structure because the siding was melting off,” Ellenburg Depot Fire Chief Louis LaValley said.
Fire crews did direct their hoses at Rowe’s home but were unable to save it, and it was deemed a total loss. LaValley was unsure if the structure was insured.
The fire chief said Rowe was on vacation and had not been in contact with him as of 3:30 p.m. Monday.
Mooers, Altona, Champlain, Rouses Point, West Chazy, Chateaugay, Ellenburg Center and Churubusco fire departments were called in to help fight the blaze.
LaValley was unsure of what caused the fire but said it might have been a lightning strike. A powerful thunderstorm had moved through the area in the night.
The debris rekindled around midday Monday due to hot spots, but firefighters were able to put the fire out again without much fanfare. Town Supervisor Richard Pearson said the Highway Department put heavy equipment to work to break apart the ruins of the home, “so they can get more water on it.”
ELLENBURG DEPOT —
By MATTHEW HAMILTON
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