‘Hoarder Conditions’ Made Battling Utica Blaze Difficult
Seven people were displaced following a house fire on Howard Avenue Saturday.
Fire officials say the first crews on scene could see smoke coming from the second floor. Suppression crews encountered "hoarder conditions," making it difficult to get to the seat of the fire, according to officials.
During the course of the battle primary and secondary searches were performed, but nobody was found. Officials say a dog was led to safety and a cat was found hiding in the home.
Preventative measures were put in place by fire crews to prevent further escalation by contacting National Grid to shut off electricity and plugging the gas lines. As crews continued suppression, search and salvage operations the end result was heat and smoke damage to the second floor and water damage to the first floor.
Officials say a total of five adults, two children, a dog and a cat were displaced by the blaze. The Utica Fire Department says the cause of the investigation is still being investigated and they want to thank National Grid for their assistance in combating the fire.
The Mohawk Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross was on scene to provide assistance and support to the victims who were displaced. They provided financial assistance for necessities such as shelter, food and clothing. The American Red Cross volunteers also provided comfort kits containing personal hygiene products and stuffed animals for the children, ages five and nine. Those volunteers will continue to be available in the coming days to help navigate the road to recovery.
The Utica Fire Department also wants to thank the Utica Police Department and COCVAC Ambulance for their assistance at the scene, as well.