Fire destroys Hillsdale family’s home

HILLSDALE–A family of five lost their home, their belongings and their pets when their rented house at 119 Old Route 22 was destroyed by fire August 25.

The Anderson family, parents and three children, lost everything in the blaze including their dog, cat and iguana, said Hillsdale Fire Chief Richard Briggs.

The Andersons lived in the house for about 15 years. Bill Seymour of Hillsdale owned the house. The family had no renter’s insurance, Chief Briggs said.

The Red Cross was called into assist the family, who are staying in a camper at Camp Waubeeka, according to the chief, who said he has seen containers for donations to help the family in local businesses. Attempts to reach the family before press time were unsuccessful.

The kitchen area of the one-story, 30-by-60-foot house was fully-ablaze and flames were coming through the roof when Chief Briggs arrived on the scene just after the fire call went out at 2:15 p.m.

He called for mutual aid from Craryville and Copake firefighters. Egremont was called to stand by at the Hillsdale firehouse, and Ancram was called to stand by in Copake.

The New York State Electric and Gas Company was summoned to cut the power to the house.

Firefighters entered the house to suppress the blaze from the interior. Enough water to battle the fire was available on tankers at the scene, Chief Briggs said.

The fire started with a short in the electrical heating system, he said. The kitchen and one bedroom were completely gutted by the fire, the rest of the house was destroyed by the heat generated by the blaze. No one was home when the fire broke out.

About 30 firefighters in all were on the fire scene. Units were clear at 9:04 p.m. No injuries were reported.

The Columbia County Cause and Origin Team investigated. The Community Rescue Squad, Sheriff’s deputies, and County Fire Coordinators were also on the scene.

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