Candle ignites Prospect Street fire

PHILMONT–A fire ignited by a candle gutted a two-story house at 3 Prospect Street, March 9 at 2:56 a.m.

Philmont Fire Chief Chris Carlsen told The Columbia Paper that the structure was the second in a series of several row houses–all rental properties connected and sharing a common ceiling.

The house was occupied by Rhiann Clark and her mother. The chief did not have the name of the building owner available.

Ms. Clark lit a candle and thought she had put it out, but it later ignited the fire, Chief Carlsen said.

Firefighters arriving on the scene found the structure full of smoke and attempted ventilate it through the windows, said the chief. Typically, they would have ventilated the structure through the roof, but the house had “several subroofs” making the windows easier to access, Chief Carlsen said.

When air was let into the structure, flames erupted creating a “flashover.” Firefighters retreated and hosed down the blaze from the outside using water from their tanker trucks and from hydrants. They knocked down the fire within an hour of the initial alarm, the chief said.

Mellenville, Claverack and Ghent firefighters were also called to the scene along with the Philmont Rescue Squad.

Members of the Columbia County Fire and EMS coordinators’ offices were on the scene.

The building was uninhabitable, said the chief and the Red Cross was called in to assist Ms. Clark and her mother with replacing clothing and finding a place to stay.

In all, “upwards of 30” firefighters responded to the blaze. No injuries were reported and units were clear from the scene by 7:30 a.m.

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