PLATTSBURGH — The cause of a late-afternoon fire that badly damaged a duplex Saturday was still under investigation Tuesday.
Assistant City Fire Chief Randy Stone said the blaze, which he did not consider suspicious in nature, started in the upstairs master bedroom at 5348 Peru Street.
“It looks like it may have been a lit candle,” he said in a phone interview. “But until we go through the whole investigative process, it’s hard to say.”
Keith and Maryanne Rebideau, who rent the home, were not there when the fire broke out.
Stone said Jeffrey Burdo, the duplex’s owner, does have insurance on the property.
Maryanne Rebideau said her family is staying with her mother in Plattsburgh while they figure out where to go from here.
“We have no idea yet what we are going to do,” she said. “We’ve never had anything like this happen to us. We are still in shock.”
RED CROSS HELPED
The family, who lost everything on the second floor, is in need of both women’s and men’s clothing, Mrs. Rebideau said, especially for their teenage daughter
“And my husband has no clothes either. He needs jeans,” she added.
A Disaster Action Team from the American Red Cross provided immediate emergency aid to the family, offering financial assistance for food, clothing and shoes, according to a statement from the North Country Chapter of the organization.
It also provided the family with seasonal clothing and storage bins for any belongings the Rebideaus were able to salvage.
The Rebideaus do not have renter’s insurance.
Stone said the unit’s second floor sustained considerable heat damage, and fierce flames charred the roof supports in the attic and later ignited the home’s vinyl siding.
The adjoining unit sustained slight smoke damage.
Stone said the master bedroom was the most heavily contaminated by heat and smoke.
“There was also significant heat, smoke and water damage to the entire second floor, with water damage on both the second and first floor.”
Stone estimated about $30,000 to $40,000 in losses for the family.
The fire was spotted at about 4:40 p.m. Saturday by Colin Hyde of Peru, who was passing nearby on his motorcycle. He called 911, and good Samaritans Blair and Belinda Gushue of Montreal stopped to help make sure no one was in the home; heat and smoke kept Mr. Gushue from going upstairs. Firefighters employed a thermal imaging device to track the fire in the walls of the home, and fans helped clear the smoke.
Stone said salvage crews were brought in to help protect the Rebideaus’ first-floor belongings.
But Mrs. Rebideau said they lost everything in the fire, putting them in a position they had never yet experienced.
“We’ve never had to ask for anything before, but whatever anyone can do would be greatly appreciated,” she said.
Gift cards for clothing or other needed items can be mailed to the Rebideaus at 75 Champlain Street, Plattsburgh, NY, 12901.
Email Miranda Orso: firstname.lastname@example.org