No foul play in fatal apartment-house fire, police say

The Enterprise — Michael Koff
Twelve hours after the call came at 2:05 Thursday morning of a fire at 26 Meadowbrook Drive — part of a large apartment complex in Bethlehem — these Westmere firefighters were still on the scene, dousing any remaining hotspots. 

BETHLEHEM — On Monday afternoon, Bethlehm police identified the man who died in last Thursday’s fire at Meadowbrook Apartments as David M. Boggs, 64.

Last Friday, an autopsy conducted at Ellis Hospital found that he died of smoke inhalation, according to Bethlehem Police.

The investigation, as of Monday, was ongoing with the cause and origin of the fire still unknown and expected to take a long time because of the extent of the damage.

The business office at 26 Meadowbrook Drive and seven residential apartments in the building behind the office were destroyed in the early morning blaze.

“While the fire remains under investigation, at this time, there is no indication of criminal activity in the cause of the fire,” according to a Friday afternoon release from the Bethlehem Police Department.

The Bethlehem Police Department is leading the joint investigation with the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. Bethlehem Police were also assisted by the Albany County District Attorney’s Office and New York State Police K-9 unit.

Adjacent apartment buildings — all similar wooden two-storey structures with mansard roofs — suffered some outside damage but were not destroyed. The nearby apartments were evacuated, but were cleared for residents to re-enter by Thursday afternoon.

When firefighters and police arrived on the scene after receiving several 9-1-1 calls just after 2 a.m., the building was ablaze. The North Bethlehem Fire Department received mutual aid from 11 other fire and EMS agencies from the towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland, Colonie, and New Scotland. Two first responders suffered minor injuries, which were treated on the scene.

The Bethlehem Emergency Management Organization and the Red Cross responded to assist residents with shelter. The Red Cross said in a release that it was “responding with emergency aid to about 20 people.”

“All of those forced from the buildings are eligible to receive assistance with food, clothing and lodging, as well as personal care items. Health services for replacing prescriptions and medical devices are also available,” the release said, concluding, “The Red Cross relies on the generosity of local donors to help families prepare, respond and recover from disasters in Northeastern New York. Please visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to donate to Disaster Relief and help people affected by disasters big and small.”

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