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Firefighters save apartment building

Smoke pours from an apartment window at 4 Baker St. Monday night. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department quickly extinguished flames spouting from the window of an apartment house at the corner of Park Avenue and Baker Street just before 5 p.m. Monday.

The blaze threatened the neighboring house a few yards away, but firefighters prevented it from spreading.

Occupants of the multi-apartment building at 4 Baker St. and neighbors evacuated their homes and were outside when the emergency died down a little after 5 p.m. SLFVD Chief Brendan Keough said there were no known injuries.

The Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department and Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department assisted on scene, and the Paul Smiths-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department stood by at the SLVFD station. A National Grid truck was on the scene, and an employee was in a bucket truck isolating the power to the structure, preparing to shut it off if the fire spread.

Keough said the fire was contained to one first-floor apartment through an exterior fight with the blaze. The apartment sustained heavy fire damage, he said. There was water damage throughout the first floor and smoke damage throughout the building.

While onlookers congregate outside, members of the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department use their aerial ladder truck to inspect an apartment building at 4 Baker St., Saranac Lake, while putting out a fire that started just after dark Monday evening. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter

“The firefighters did a hell of a knockdown,” Keough said. “They did a really good job.”

The building contains several apartments and a children’s day care on the top floor.

Keough said when the building was deemed safe residents were escorted by firefighters to their apartments where they grabbed the belongings they would need for two nights away from home. He said most would be staying with friends and family.

One resident said he was in his living room, across the hall from where the fire started, when the building began filling with smoke. He said the occupant of the apartment where it began called the fire department.

A woman in a neighboring house said she returned from the store to see the fire trucks rolling in and flames rolling out of the window next to her home. She ran inside to get her four children out of the building as the blaze illuminated the inside of her house.

Firefighters first fought back the flames with a hose from the outside. Several minutes and many gallons of water later, it was reduced to a thick smoke. Around 20 minutes after that, members were inside the structure, opening windows to ventilate and inspecting the roof from an aerial ladder truck.

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