Backyard sauna fire in Saranac Lake
SARANAC LAKE — A local woman was preparing for a relaxing night in an outdoor backyard sauna on Sunday evening, but she ended up fighting a fire instead.
The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department responded to 74 Margaret St. at 6:47 p.m. Sunday with two trucks and 12 members. When they arrived, the homeowner, who asked to not be named, was hitting the sauna with a garden hose on full blast and laughing. She was safe, but her sauna was all but firewood at that point.
There were not flames at the time, but a lot of smoke poured from the charred-black door. The sauna was around 8 feet from the main structure. The fire did not spread to the house.
Firefighters took over battling the still-burning structure with their much more powerful hoses. As they ripped the metal roof off the top, flames sprang out and were quickly hosed down. Firefighters removed the pot-belly stove, where water is poured onto hot coals to create steam, from the back of the sauna, where the fire was concentrated, and hosed that down, too.
Firefighters were back in service at 7:38 p.m.
SLVFD Chief Brendan Keough said this was the first sauna fire he could think of in Saranac Lake. He said this was a “DIY” homemade sauna.
“Had this fire been in the middle of the night it would have extended into the house for sure,” he wrote in a text. “Never leave a woodstove in a sauna unattended and make sure the woodstove is properly installed and maintain proper distances from combustible material. Make sure the sauna and woodstove are a safe distance from exposures like your house.”