New Lebanon fire leaves 6 homeless

Six people were left homeless after a fire in the basement at 1576 Route 20, New Lebanon, early Sunday morning. Bill Williams/Columbia-Greene Media

NEW LEBANON — Six people were left homeless after a fire Sunday morning in New Lebanon, Lebanon Valley Fire Chief Matt Larabee said Sunday.

The six unidentified residents lived in three apartments at 1576 Route 20, Larabee said.

At about 4:05 a.m., Columbia County 911 sent Lebanon Valley Fire Department and Chatham Rescue Squad to the address after receiving reports of smoke in the building.

When firefighters first arrived on the scene, they reported heavy smoke in the area and requested mutual-aid assistance from neighboring fire companies.

Firefighters went to each apartment to make sure everyone was evacuated. An elderly man needed assistance by firefighters to get out of the building. His smoke detector did not sound, and he was not aware of the fire, Larabee said.

No injuries were reported to any of the occupants or firefighters, Larabee said.

The fire was contained to the cellar, but the entire building received heavy smoke damage.

The fire got its start in a malfunctioning oil furnace and spread to some beams, Larabee said.

Exposed to the flames, the boiler’s water tank ruptured and put the fire out, Larabee said.

The six residents will be living with friends and relatives until repairs can be made and the building can be professionally cleaned.

The town building inspector will make the determination when they can move back in, Larabee said.

Other companies involved in fighting the fire were: Canaan, Red Rock, East Chatham, Tri-Village, Niverville, Tsatsawassa and Richmond Fire Department of Massachusetts.

Assisting at the scene were: New York State Electric and Gas, State Police, Columbia County Fire Coordinator’s Office, the state Highway Department and Columbia County Highway Department. All companies were back in service at 6:47 a.m.

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