Neighbors grieve Schenectady house fire victims

Posted at: 05/02/2013 10:52 PM
Updated at: 05/03/2013 12:50 AM
By: Jessica Layton

Four people were killed in a blaze at 438 Hulett St. in Schenectady on May 2, 2013.
Four people were killed in a blaze at 438 Hulett St. in Schenectady on May 2, 2013.
Photo: WNYT

SCHENECTADY - Grieving friends carrying flowers were allowed beyond the police tape just long enough to kneel down and say a prayer for the people killed in a fire on Hulett Street Thursday morning in Schenectady.

They were Melissa Krom's neighbors. She lived on the first floor of the house and woke up to people screaming.

"That's all we kept saying, 'Where's the kids?' They didn't deserve that. They had a life still," Krom said.

Understandably distraught and desperate for answers, neighbors crowded around 438 Hulett St. They were stunned at the site of the wood-framed building, now blackened by flames. Where there used to be windows there was only jagged glass. Where there used to be a home there was only heartbreak.

Firefighters were returning from a smokey scene on Swan Street when they got the call for the Hulett Street blaze around 4:30 Thursday morning.

"They pulled people from the first floor, made an aggressive entry into the second-floor apartment," Schenectady Fire Chief Michael DellaRocco said.

Baby Donovan, 2-year-old Michael, 3-year-old Layah and their father, 32-year-old Dave Terry, were killed.

Five-year-old Sa'fyre Terry was in critical condition when she arrived at the burn unit of Westchester Medical Center. Police aren't releasing any new information on her condition.

"There were nine people that got out of the house. How could nobody get upstairs?" Krom questioned.

Through tears, other neighbors described the helplessness they felt watching flames shoot out of the roof and windows. Now they are faced with the painful ordeal of waiting to find out whether this fire was an accident or set on purpose.