Officials: Cause of Saratoga Springs fire still unknown

Posted at: 07/29/2013 1:21 PM
Updated at: 07/29/2013 7:18 PM
By: Steve Flamisch

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- It may be several days before authorities know what sparked the fire that ripped through four row houses early Sunday morning, fire and police officials said.

The extensive damage to 102, 104, 106, and 108 Woodlawn Ave. delayed the investigation into the fire's cause and origin, officials said. A fifth building, 100 Woodlawn Ave., sustained heavy smoke and water damage.

"It's kind of hard to get in so we're taking our time with it," Saratoga Springs Assistant Fire Chief Peter Shaw told NewsChannel 13. "It might be the end of the week before we get any final determination."

Three firefighters who were treated for heat exhaustion Sunday were released from the hospital, Shaw said. Everyone who lived in the buildings, including many track workers, escaped without injury but many lost everything they own.

The American Red Cross has provided assistance to 36 people displaced by the fire, the organization said. Many were staying in a temporary shelter at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center.

"If we need the shelter for a few days, for a week or whatever, we will assess on a day-to-day basis," Gary Ferris, executive director of the Adirondack Saratoga Chapter, said. "We will make sure that people are taken care of."

Andrea Gibeau, who lived at 104 Woodlawn Ave. with her boyfriend and their three year-old son, signed-up for help at the Red Cross shelter. She asked for assistance with clothing, food, and furnishings.

"We didn't have a whole lot," Gibeau said. "We were just starting to get settled... and it was just gone in seconds."

Gibeau's black and white cat, Boots, was still missing late Monday. Her boyfriend found their other cat unharmed.

The Saratoga Assembly of God also helped the displaced residents, officials said. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) accepted donations Monday at Saratoga Race Course.