Fire destroys most of Austerlitz home

AUSTERLITZ–Fire destroyed a garage, a pop-up camper and most of a 2-story house at 140 Macedonia Road, the afternoon of August 7.

Firefighters rescued the homeowners’ cat from the burning house and saved two rooms and their contents, according to Austerlitz Fire District Chief Jeff Prack.

The Fercucci’s, the homeowners, were at their residence that morning, but later left to go out for lunch.

The fire was reported at 2:55 p.m. by a caretaker at neighboring residence, who saw the flames through the woods, said Chief Prack.

When Assistant Fire Chief Robin Howes arrived, the detached garage had already burned to the ground. A propane tank on the camper, which was parked between the house and garage, exploded igniting the house, said the chief.

Mutual aid was summoned from Red Rock, Chatham and Ghent to assist Austerlitz and Spencertown firefighters, who first attacked the blaze from the exterior then entered with hose lines through the front and back doors, Chief Prack said.

A live electrical line fell to the ground during the fire, making for a dangerous situation until a New York State Electric and Gas crew arrived “fairly quickly” to cut the power, according to the chief.

The Fercucci’s went to stay in a camper they have had for many years on a lake, Chief Prack said.

The Columbia County Cause and Origin Team is investigating the cause of the blaze.

In all, about 40 firefighters were on the scene along with the Chatham and Philmont rescue squads, county fire coordinators and State Police. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters remained at the fire scene for five hours.

To contact Diane Valden email .

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