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Smoke detectors alert Copake family to blaze


COPAKE—Six members of the Frank Adams family were displaced from their home at 48 Stonewall Ridge Road, when a fire broke out November 18 at 3:34 p.m.
A family dog died in the blaze.
The one-story single-family house was divided into two apartments—one on the main floor and a second in the “walkout basement,” Copake Fire Chief Randi Shadic told The Columbia Paper.
Mr. Adams, the homeowner, lived with his wife and daughter upstairs and another daughter and her two children lived downstairs, he said.
People were at home upstairs that afternoon and were alerted to the blaze when smoke detectors in the house sounded. Not seeing anything upstairs, Mr. Adams went to the interior basement door opened it and encountered heavy smoke. He shut the door and left the house to call 911, Chief Shadic said.
The fire started in the basement utility room/laundry area in the mechanical blower for either the radon venting system or the dryer venting system, said the chief, noting that area was extensively damaged.  
“The building was heavily charged with smoke” when firefighters arrived and began an aggressive interior attack on the blaze in the basement, said the chief.
The fire spread to an upstairs bedroom located above the utility room and that bedroom collapsed into the basement. The rest of the house sustained only smoke damage, he said.
Firefighters recovered a dog from the house and attempted resuscitation without success. Other family pets escaped the home safely.
The chief praised firefighters for their effective interior attack and safe containment of the fire.
This fire emphasizes the “huge value of having working smoke detectors,” which alerted occupants to a problem in the building and gave them time to escape and call 911, said Chief Shadic, noting that one person in the house had been asleep in the bedroom above the fire room just before the alarm went off.
The Red Cross was contacted to assist the family with temporary housing.
Along with Copake firefighters, Columbia County 911 dispatched Ancram firefighters and the Community Rescue Squad under automatic mutual aid.
Additional mutual aid was requested to the scene from Hillsdale. Craryville, Egremont, Millerton and Taghkanic firefighters were on standby.
The Columbia County Cause and Origin Team was called to investigate and representatives from the County Fire Coordinators Office were on the scene. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters were clear from the scene at about 11 p.m.
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