Fire wipes out New Baltimore family home

Posted at: 11/25/2012 6:36 PM
Updated at: 11/25/2012 6:40 PM
By: Dan Levy

NEW BALTIMORE - The only good thing -- if that's possible -- about the raging house fire in New Baltimore Sunday morning is that no one was at home. The holiday season is now filled with despair and uncertainty for the Powell family. An historic farm house the family has lived in for decades, with all their belongings, is gone.

By Sunday afternoon, the smoldering ruins were all that physically remained at 84 Cole Lane, but  there are still plenty of childhood memories for Loraine Koster.

"My (twin) sister (Audrey Powell) and her family of four were living in the house," Koster began. "The history s that we grew up as kids here. We learned to be country girls instead of Long Island people."

The farm house dates back to the early 19th century, and once had horses, chickens, and pigs living on the land. At one time you could take in a panoramic view of the Hudson River before trees and brush over grew the property.

Loraine Koster says her sister had no insurance.

"It's affecting my sister and it's affecting her husband," Koster says, "In another couple of hours, she's going to break down, I know she is."

Firefighters responding from at least five different companies really had little chance to save things, responding at 11:30 A.M., according to New Baltimore's First Assistant Fire Chief Scott Van Wormer.

"We we got here, the house was fully involved," Van Wormer says, "It was a full exterior fight and there was no way anyone was going inside the fire."

The fact that Cole Lane is situated in a rural area, set back from any main road, compounded the challenge for firefighters.

"We have no hydrant system," Van Wormer pointed out. "There's no water close by so we rely mainly on tankers from other fire companies in the area."

Even if water had been closer by, there's no guarantee that things would have turned out much differently.

"My family home is gone," Koster acknowledged, "My mother lives in Florida and when she hears about this, it's just going to kill her. She's going to be wiped out."

Three family pets were reported missing after the fire. The cause is under investigation.