DELMAR — Details of an early morning fire — just two days after Christmas — were revealed by authorities and the family who was displaced by the blaze.
Bethlehem Police Officer Andrew Hynes was just ending his eight-hour overnight shift when he was flagged down just before 6:45 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 27, after a passerby noticed a structure fire from Delaware Avenue.
Hynes located the fire at 485 Dawson Road where he said there was fire coming through the front windows of the home. The back of the home was fully involved in fire on both the first and second floor. He notified dispatch to send fire crews to the scene of a fully-involved house fire.
“When I had arrived the back of the house was fully involved and it had already worked its way to the front,” said Assistant Chief Dan Ryan of the Delmar Fire Department.
A ladder truck from Delmar Fire pulled into the driveway and crews got right to work on the fire.
There were four people living in the home at the time of the fire, who police say were all able to exit the home without injury. The family was asleep when they woke up and were alerted to the fire, according to a post made by the homeowner on the fundraiser page.
“It was chaotic, but we ran downstairs, grabbed our pet turtle from the tank and were able to escape out our front door, just seconds ahead of the flames as they were moving from the back of the house towards the front,” the homeowner said. “Two or three minutes later, we were standing in our driveway wearing only what we wore to bed, holding an aquatic turtle, shivering and watching with shock and disbelief as the entire structure became engulfed.”
The fire spread so quickly that the stairs to the second floor were completely burned after the family escaped.
Crews made entry on the first floor and Chief Ryan said one firefighter put their foot through a hole where the basement stairs were.
Crews were then pulled from the structure and went to exterior operations only.
There were also reportedly four cats inside the house that did not make it out.
Delmar, Elsmere, Slingerlands, Selkirk, North Bethlehem and Onesquethaw fire departments assisted with on-scene and standby operations, along with Delmar-Bethlehem EMS, Albany County Paramedics and Bethlehem Police.
There were no injuries reported on the scene.
The fire was knocked down quickly before fire crews were packed up by 11 a.m., Ryan said.
He added that the home was a total loss except for the garage, where crew members were able to salvage some items for the family.
“There were a bunch of tools and things like that in the garage that were all saved,” he said. “There was also a hand-made wooden canoe and other things in there.”
There was electrical arcing from the power source that connected to the chicken coop located in the back of the house, located directly next to the deck.
The Bethlehem Police Department’s Fire Investigation Team is continuing to investigate the cause of the fire. Ryan said it appeared to have started in the back of the house, where fire officials observed electrical arcing.
A GoFundMe fundraiser page was established for the family at https://bit.ly/DawsonFire.