Massive fire rages through Poughkeepsie

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POUGHKEEPSIE – A Tuesday night fire destroyed three houses, multiple garages, and sent a Poughkeepsie firefighter to the hospital.  Shortly after 9 p.m., Poughkeepsie firefighters were dispatched to a reported fire at 13 Duane Street in the city.  First arriving firefighters encountered heavy fire at 13 Duane and structures at 11 and 15 Duane were also on fire, causing Captain Steve Bauer to request a second alarm bringing the Arlington, Fairview, and Roosevelt fire departments to the scene to aid in battling the blaze.

Firefighters spent hours trying to drown the fire from the outside using several hoses as well as powerful deck guns from the fire engines parked near the fire.  While Poughkeepsie firefighters attacked the fire from the front, Arlington firefighters used several thousands of gallons of water at the back of the structures in an attempt to extinguish the flames.

Fairview firefighters were on the scene in the event that occupants or firefighters needed to be rescued.  Joining the various fire departments at the scene were Central Hudson, city officials, and Mobile Life Support Services. Additional fire departments from the area were relocated to Poughkeepsie to provide coverage for the area.

The fire was contained to three structures on Duane Street as well as garages located behind the houses.  According to Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Mark Johnson, the fire appears to have started in one of the garages that housed a BBQ grill.  Johnson said that several witnesses indicated that the fire started in the garage behind 13 Duane Street.  The official cause and origin of the fire are under investigation.

Poughkeepsie Fire Lieutenant Paul Bucher was injured at the fire when his foot was caught under the revolving ladder platform on one of the ladder trucks. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his injury, which was said to be a minor injury to his leg.

Mayor Rob Rolison was at the scene and praised the firefighters.  “This is an enormous fire that could have spread rapidly but was contained by Poughkeepsie’s firefighters who were aided by neighboring departments.  The city is well-served by our dedicated firefighters and I truly appreciate the assistance provided by the neighboring departments,” said the mayor.

Chief Johnson said that displaced occupants of the three buildings were going to be assisted by the American Red Cross in the event that shelter was needed.  Johnson noted that in addition to the three multi-family dwellings on Duane Street that were destroyed by the fire, a fourth house located on Gifford Avenue sustained radiant heat damage as well as water damage.

Firefighting operations were originally delayed due to limited water supply.  The neighborhood that is made up of structures constructed decades ago has limited access to fire hydrants.  Firefighters were forced to connect to hydrants a few blocks away which delayed the initial attack on the fire.  Johnson said that firefighters had the fire under control shortly after 11 p.m.  A substantial portion of the city was without electricity as a result of lines damaged by the fire.

Volunteers from the Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross provided immediate emergency aid to nine people from four families after a multifamily fire on Tuesday night on Duane Street in Poughkeepsie