Flames erupt from 15th street house

Around 2:30 am this morning, a fire began in 2210 15th street, a house owned by David Snover and occupied by RPI students. The blaze was visible for hours, but the flames died down and the fire appeared under control–aside from some smoldering in the back of the house–by 4:55 am.

The fire broke out on the right side of the house due to an unknown cause, said first floor tenant Gavin Templer ’11. “I was about to sleep,” explained Templer, “[when] my one of my roommates noticed something was wrong. He ran out of the house.” Templer said the roommate proceeded to break the bedroom windows on the first floor, and the tenants still inside jumped out.

Templer said that the fire seemed to die down quickly once the fire department arrived, so he went to stay with a friend for the night. From talking to the firefighters, Templer learned that the Troy Fire Department had been contacted by RPI and that they would be providing a place for any displaced tenants to spend the night. He was told to contact the Fire Department the following morning if he needed any items from the house.

Templer was surprised when he learned that the fire had started up again.

By 3:00 am, however, 15th Street was filled with emergency vehicles, and the fire department was aiming hoses at a house billowing smoke. Police officers in the area explained that three houses–2210 and its two neighbors to the right–were affected by the fire.

Tenants from the second and third floors of the house were evacuated around 3:30 am. They confirmed that the fire started on the first floor, and explained that firemen were already fighting it when they woke up. According to tenant Daniel Bautista ’11, two students from the first floor were taken away in ambulances. Fire Chief Tom Garrett said these students were treated for smoke inhalation at Albany Medical Center Hospital and then released.

By 3:45 am, flames were clearly visible emanating from back end of the building, and they appeared to grow steadily over the next 45 minutes. As smoke poured out of the house in massive clouds, several firefighters aimed their hoses at the attic window, where which a strong red glow was visible. In addition to 15th street, firefighters fought the flames from a crane above the house and a ladder behind it.

Meanwhile, other firefighters searched the neighboring house, in which no fire was visible, with flashlights.

By 4:30 am, the roof and attic walls seemed to be giving way.

After hours of fighting, the flames started to die down around 4:40 am, while pieces of wood and shingle fell from top of the house. As of 4:55 am, the fire was under control, with some smoldering in the back of the house as the only visible flame.

UPDATE: The students displaced by the fire are currently staying in on-campus housing. All are safe but lost all belongings in the fire. They are in need of pants, shirts, shoes, and bedding. All 10 students are male, with the majority wearing size L T-shirts (though size S and M could also be used), pants from size 32-36, and shoes size 10, 11, or 12. Anyone can donate items, gift cards, or cash by delivering them to the Residence Life office in Commons of the Union Administration office in the Rensselaer Union by the close of business today.