MALONE — Investigators may not find an exact cause of a fire at 3 Morton St. that injured one tenant and forced eight others to find different places to stay.
“The preliminary report is saying ‘undetermined,’ that it may have gotten its start in the ceiling area on the second floor,” said Franklin County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost.
Malone Callfiremen Chief Brian Gokey agreed, saying there was so much damage in the back section of the two-story home that members of the county’s Cause and Origin Team may not get any solid answers.
The fire broke out a little after 3 p.m. at the corner of Morton and Main streets in the upper, rear apartment of Scott Betters.
Betters was dangling out a window trying to escape when two Malone Police Department officers on duty, Nicholas Hebert and Nathan Preve; an off-duty colleague, Brian Miller; and emergency-medical technicians from Malone and Burke pitched in to rescue him.
Betters reportedly suffered burns and was listed in stable condition Wednesday at Alice Hyde Medical Center, Gokey said.
He parised the three Village Police officers; John Russell, a Malone EMT; and Maryann Larkin, an EMT from Burke, explaining how they teamed up to help Betters to a porch roof, then stretched him out across their arms as they lowered him down two ladders to safety.
“The EMTs started working on him before the ambulance even got there,” he said.
Gokey also praised all of the volunteers from nearby departments who came in on mutual aid to relieve the first-responders.
“No one fire department can do it on their own with such a big building,” Gokey said. “That’s why we have such great relationships with our neighbors.”
“It was hot, and it was exhausting” he said of battling the blaze, which occurred across the street from Flanders Elementary School.
The structure was solidly built and had two metal roofs, which meant it took a long time to gain access to the flames and douse them, Gokey said.
The building, owned by Hugh McCann, may not be a total loss since the worst damage was confined to the upper rear of the apartment house, Gokey said. The displaced tenants were able to go back in Wednesday to retrieve some belongings.
One family, Amanda Miller and her sons, Bentley and Landon Boyea, were being helped by the American Red Cross, which furnished what they call comfort kits, food and clothing.
Other tenants included Red Pecore and his two sons, Travis and Joey Pecore, and a woman named Lucy and her son.
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