September 22, 2023


RENSSELAER >> A woman over 80 years old was rescued from two-alarm fire early Friday morning, according to city fire officials.


Firefighters received a call at 1:01 a.m. with reports of a structure fire at 774 East Street and arrived two minutes later to find the fire in the rear of the building.


According to Assistant Chief Phil Smith, firefighters were made known of a elderly woman who was inside the building but was semi-disabled and needed assistance with moving.


The woman was eventually found on the first floor of the single-family home and taken out by two firefighters and three police officers.


Those involved in the rescue were Firefighters William Brookings and Jason Gibbins, as well as Sgt. Michael Deso, and Patrolmen James Hannigan and Zack Bordeau.


The woman was transported to Albany Medical Center but her current condition is unknown. According to Smith, the woman was conscious and breathing when she was taken from the scene but was transported to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.


The fire spread to the rear of the adjacent building, 772 East Street, as Smith said the two buildings were separated by only a small alleyway. The family living on the second floor of the building next door were able to escape safely and were provided a CDTA bus to stay warm.


Smith said there were no other injuries reported.


Firefighters were able to knock down both blazes fairly quickly as Smith said they were able to get them under control by 2 a.m. The Rensselaer Fire Department received assistance from the East Greenbush, the Clinton Heights and the Defreestville Fire Departments.


The only complication firefighters did run into were hanging electrical wires in the home at 774 East Street, however Smith said National Grid responded quickly to turn off the power to the homes.


Smith did not have details on the condition of the two buildings but said the cause of the fire was believed to be accidental. Still, an investigation was ongoing.


Smith said he was pleased with the rescue of the woman and also the fact they were able to take care of the fire quickly before leaving the scene around 3:30 a.m.


“I was very happy with the men who were able to rescue the lady,” Smith said. “I was very happy with that.”

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