Carman Road fire starts in basement

— Photo by Doris Selig

Basement fire: With an exhausted crew in the foreground, a fresh crew goes in through a door to the cellar, where a cooking fire started on April 27.

— Photo by Doris Selig

Firefighters enter a house on Carman Road, led in by Frank Zabinski, assistant chief of the Westmere Fire Department, as they battle a blaze that began in the basement.
 

— Photo by Doris Selig

One of three cats rescued from a fire on Sunday is gently lowered into a carrier by a member of the Guilderland Police Department.
 

GUILDERLAND — Tenants are being assisted by the Red Cross after a basement fire displaced them from their Carman Road apartments on Sunday evening.

The Guilderland Fire Department received multiple calls about smoke coming from a house —turned into apartment units — on Carman Road shortly before 5:30 p.m. on April 27.

Sean Maguire, the commissioner of the Westmere Fire District, whose department also responded to the fire, along with the Fort Hunter Fire Department, said it was unclear whether a tenant or a passerby made the calls.

The Western Turnpike and Altamont rescue squads also responded.

The fire started in the basement and burned upward, and Maguire said the cause was determined to be a cooking fire, originating in a stove in the finished basement.

The fire was knocked down within several minutes.

One tenant was taken to the hospital for treatment, and a firefighter was treated for an injury at the scene, said Maguire.

A second tenant has been given assistance with food, clothing, and lodging by the American Red Cross Association, and the third tenant, who was not at the scene, was also eligible for assistance.

A tenant saved two cats that were inside the apartment, but firefighters were informed that there was a third cat left inside.

Westmere firefighter Michael Koff, who also works for The Enterprise as a photographer, went in to look for the third cat.

“I had my flashlight on and its eyes glowed,” said Koff. “I said, ‘Found it!’”

A dog, discovered too late in the basement, did not survive the fire.

“Basement fires are always tricky because of the limited access points,” Maguire said.

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