MALONE — As many as 12 people are homeless after a fire that swept through an apartment house at 525 East Main St. in the Village of Malone Friday morning.
Malone Callfiremen were called about 5:20 a.m. to find flames shooting out of the 300-by-100-foot building at the corner of Morton Street across from Flanders Elementary School.
This was the second large-scale fire in the village this week; a two-story apartment house at 15 Jane St. burned Monday afternoon, leaving four to six people without a place to live.
The East Main Street fire appeared to have started on the upper floor in the center section of the three-story building, said Paul Langdon, Malone’s first-assistant chief.
He said two unidentified corrections officers on their way to work helped Malone Village Police get everyone out of the building, which is owned by Jack and Elvira Stewart.
Investigators from the Franklin County Cause and Origin Team as well as State Office of Fire Prevention and Control were called in to find the exact cause of the blaze, which shut down traffic through the village for nearly four hours.
It also forced the Malone Central School District to have its buses deliver Flanders students to the auditorium at Franklin Academy High School, where they were treated to a movie and breakfast before being bused to the school.
Former police chief and Callfiremen Third Assistant Chief Steve Stone was the first to arrive, Langdon said, “and saw flames coming out the middle of the building.”
He said an interior attack was started, but as the flames spread and developed overhead, the firefighters were pulled back out.
Water was fed to the tower truck, which flooded the flames from above, allowing two teams to go back in — one from the north, some from the south, he said.
Another stubborn roof hampered efforts.
“Part of it was tin covering two layers of shingles, and there were boards under that,” Langdon said. “It was hard to get any ventilation through the roof.”
Malone Callfiremen called in mutual aid from nine other departments: Burke, Brushton, Moira, Fort Covington, Chateaugay, Westville, Dickinson and Hogansburg-Akwesasne, with Bangor on standby at the Malone station.
And 50 firefighters were on-site at one point, Langdon said.
He said the blaze was under control and not spreading within the first hour and that a neighboring home to the west was monitored to ensure it did not catch fire, too.
Members of the Franklin County Fire Police and Clinton County Fire Police rerouted traffic at Elm Street to the west and Willow Street on the east to allow fire apparatus to pass easily and keep onlookers away.
Langdon said crews would be at the property into the afternoon as the investigation into the cause continued.
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