Fire forces 7 from 2-family Amsterdam home

June 24, 2014
Updated 9:39 p.m.
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Firefighters battle a blaze in a two-family home on High Street in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
Firefighters battle a blaze in a two-family home on High Street in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

— A four-alarm fire broke out in a two-family house on High Street in Amsterdam Tuesday afternoon.

The Amsterdam Fire Department is conducting an investigation into what started the fire and will provide details on their findings this morning, they said.

“We don’t know at this time what caused the fire,” Battalion Chief Mike Whitty said. “We still have a considerable amount of work to do left to do here.” He added that an investigation could “take a long time.”

No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, according to firefighters on the scene.

The fire originated in a room toward the back of the second floor and blasted out three windows on the side of the house that faces Church Street, causing noticeable damage around the window frames.

Firefighters were called around 3:30 p.m and fought the fire for nearly 30 minutes. They remained on the scene for more than two hours.

Two fire trucks and one tower ladder truck were at the scene along with nearly 20 firefighters. All off-duty members of the department were called to help.

To contain the flames, firefighters used a chain saw to cut a hole in the roof, allowing smoke to exit the house and giving them a better chance at extinguishing the flames, according to Whitty.

Residents on the block said as many as seven people lived in the house — six on the top floor and one on the ground floor. Tim Baumgaertle said his wife and two children live on the top floor, along with two other people. He said his son and daughter were playing in the room where the fire originated.

“They came screaming out, and then my wife and her roommate saw the flames in the back room,” he said.

Baumgaertle, who is an Amsterdam resident but does not live in the house, said his wife and two kids will stay with him until they find another apartment.

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