Joshua Thomas/For The Recorder A Fort Plain Fire Department member douses a hot spot.
By JOSHUA THOMAS
For The Recorder
FORT PLAIN -- A garage fire at 63 Center St. Wednesday afternoon injured two people, sending an 8-year-old neighborhood boy to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns.
Fort Plain Police Chief Robert Thomas III said the fire started in the garage, where three minors, all around the same age, were playing. Two of the boys escaped injury, while the third suffered severe burns on more than 40 percent of his body.
The boy's father suffered burns on his hands "when he tried to render aid to the other victim," according to Thomas.
The young victim and his father were neighborhood residents, though neither lived in the two-family home attached to the garage. Though residents of the partially burned house were home during the incident, they escaped unharmed.
Thomas said several calls were placed to 911, with an initial request for emergency service coming in at 3:07 p.m. Upon arrival, Thomas said the garage was fully involved. The Fort Plain Fire Department arrived on the scene within 90 seconds. Thomas said Fire Chief Jeffery Smith arrived first, and immediately began "putting water directly on the fire."
The Canajoharie Fire Department provided mutual aid.
GAVAC also arrived quickly, treating the victims on scene prior to transporting the boy to SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse via a LifeNet helicopter that landed at the Fort Plain Jr./Sr. High School.
A second victim was released after receiving on-site medical attention.
A bulk of the fire -- which damaged two residences, including the neighboring 61 Center St. property, the side of which melted because of he intense heat -- was doused in about 10 minutes.
Smith said that even after the bulk of the fire was extinguished, it took a significant amount of time to remove the garage, with assistance from the Minden Highway Department, in an effort to make sure there were no hot spots between the garage and connected residence.
The garage, said Smith, was also torn down as a safety precaution, as the rafters had burned through.
Prior to the arrival of Fort Plain and Canajoharie fire departments, a good samaritan unsuccessfully tried to quell the flames with a garden hose.
Smith noted that upon arrival, the Fort Plain Fire Department was told that a male was trapped inside the burning structure. After a search of the property, they realized he had escaped. The fire department also successfully removed animals from the property.
Of the fire's origin, Thomas said an investigation is ongoing, though he explained, "We don't suspect any foul play. We don't suspect an electrical issue."
The fire, he said, is not suspicious or criminal.