PHILMONT — Fourteen people are homeless after flames tore through three buildings in the village Tuesday morning, Philmont Fire Chief Mark Beaumont said.
At about 10:18 a.m., the fire, at 48-51 Block Street, was first reported as a brush fire behind the building. The fire quickly spread to a garage and then to the four-unit apartment building, and a second home, at 22 Main St.
Officials believe the fire began outside before spreading to the structures, Beaumont said.
The Northeast Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting some of the residents, Beaumont said.
The first firefighters on the scene reported a working structure fire, and immediately requested mutual-aid assistance from neighboring companies. They reported heavy fire conditions throughout the three-story, wood-frame building.
Everyone was able to get out of the building, said Les Davala, the landlord of the property.
There was an early report that a 2-year-old boy may have been inside the building, but the report turned out to be unfounded.
At the height of the fire, there was a second report that a firefighter may have been trapped inside. That also turned out to be unfounded, Beaumont said.
The rear of the structure was fully involved when firefighters arrived. The fire quickly spread to the attic area, and then to the front of the building. Hudson firefighters used their tower to reach the roof and began cutting holes in it to vent the structure and to better get to the fire.
Fire officials requested a Battalion 4 response with all available interior firefighters called to the scene. A site was set up on Ark Street to fill tankers.
Police and firefighters went door-to-door to evacuate neighbors and to make sure everyone was safe. Dozens of area residents watched as the building burned.
Main Street, Church Street and other neighborhood streets were closed to traffic while crews worked.
The fires were declared out after 2 p.m. Tuesday, and some mutual-aid companies were released from the scene. Philmont firefighters remained for several hours later.
The fire gutted 48-51 Block Street, damaged a house at 22 Main St., and destroyed a garage.
The cause of the fire is under investigation by state police, Beaumont said.
Fire companies that were either on the scene or on stand-by were: Mellenville, Claverack, Greenport, Hudson, Livingston, Clermont, Germantown, Copake, Craryville, Churchtown, Ghent, Chatham, Niverville, Stottville, Catskill, and Athens.
Also assisting at the scene were Greenport Rescue Squad, state police, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Columbia County Fire Coordinator’s Office.