By CHARLIE KRAEBEL
Two families were displaced Thursday morning after a fire broke out at 40 Phillips St. in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Fire Chief Richard Liberti said it appears the blaze started in the bathroom of the first-floor apartment of the two-family home, but the cause of the fire is under investigation.
He said all the occupants got out safely, although an Amsterdam firefighter was taken to St. Mary's Hospital after sustaining a cut on his hand.
Liberti said two additional crews were brought in to assist in fighting the blaze, which was extinguished within minutes. "They knocked it down pretty quick," the chief said.
The first-floor apartment sustained "complete" fire and smoke damage, Liberti said. The second-floor unit also sustained fire and smoke damage after the fire made its way up through the building's plumbing system.
Raquel Avila, who has lived in the upstairs apartment with her husband and two children, said she woke up Thursday morning to an apartment full of smoke.
"The lady who lives downstairs came up crying and said her bathroom had caught fire because of a candle," Avila said. "No one was hurt, thank God."
Avila said the woman, who was not identified, lives in the downstairs apartment with her husband and three children.
Liberti said the fire broke out around 9:45 a.m. Thursday. Crews from National Grid and GAVAC were also on the scene.
According to a news release, volunteers from the Northeastern New York Chapter of the American Red Cross provided immediate emergency aid to the nine people displaced because of the fire.
Food, clothing and lodging were provided to a family of two adults and three children, ages 2, 4, and 6. The second family was assisted with food and lodging.
All of the individuals were given comfort kits and the children received stuffed animals, the release said.