Fire damages two houses
No one home during blaze; 3 family pets die
Michael Lamendola, Daily Gazette Reporter, June 17th 2006
A fierce fire destroyed once house and killed three family pets inside and also severely damaged an adjacent house on South Holmes Street Friday afternoon.
No one was home at either house when the fire broke out. Six people from the houses were dislocated.
Firefighters from five fire companies responded to the 4 p.m. fire and worked for about 45 minutes to put out the the fire in 80-degree temperatures and thick smoke.
The fire is believed to have started inside 602 South Holmes, on the second floor, said Schenectady County Fire Coordinator John Nuzback.
The origin is under investigation, said Scotia Fire Capt. Charles Keller. The house at 602 South Holmes belongs to Gregg and Dianne Dobert. They have three children. A neighbor said Greg Slatterly own 604 South Holmes Street.
A fund was announced for the Dobert family Friday night at the 1st National Bank of Scotia. Donations can be sent to the fund at the bank, 201 Mohawk Ave., Scotia, or may be dropped off at branches.
Keller confirmed the Dobert's pets died in the fire. The family had two dogs and a cat, neighbors said.
The house was engulfed when firefighters arrived. Flames filled the upper floor and choking smoke poured out of the windows, engulfing the streets of the residential area. Dozens of people watched, many taking pictures.
Firefighters wearing respirators directed streams of water from at least three different directions. Even then, the fire remained intense and set the adjacent house at 604 S. Holmes St. ablaze, destroying a boat in the driveway between the houses.
Peter Westervelt, of 606 S. Holmes St. two door down, said the gas tank of the boat exploded and fed the fire.
Scotia Fire Chief Richard Kasko said the wind pushed the fire between the houses. The fire charred the side of the second house and most of the windows were broken.
Glenville police located Slatterly in New York City Friday night. Despite the intense flames and heat, firefighters from Scotia and Schenectady Fire Department entered602 Holmes briefly to fight the fire, Nuzback said.
"They made an interior attack initially and then back down and attacked the fire from outside," Nuzback said.
The fire was under control by 4:43 p.m., but not before gutting 602 Holmes and burning away the front of the house.
Westervelt said police told him to leave his house at the height of the fire, fearing the wind would push it down the block.
"They told me to get the hell out," he said. "Within three to four minutes, that fire went from a little fire to a full, engulfing fire."
He stayed nearby, however, and used a garden hose to wet down his house. "Guess we're lucky. It didn't catch fire," Westervelt said.
The Scotia Fire Department received mutual aid from Buekendaal, Thomas Corners and East Glenville volunteer fire departments and from the Schenectady department.