BOONVILLE — A family home at 1813 State Route 26 in Lewis County was made “unlivable” after a severe fire on Sunday morning.
Homeowner Keith Pfendler was sitting in front of his lit pellet stove with his 1 and 4-year-old children on his lap when he saw a “black poof” of ashes and embers come from the back of the stove.
He said he poured water over the back to cool it down and make sure no sparks landed inside the house, when his girlfriend, Michelle Bailey, said she heard crackling come from inside the walls.
“I saw the fire feeding through the wall, so I put water on it and got the inside part put out,” Mr. Pfendler said,
When he went outside, however, the fire was still burning he knew it was more than he could handle.
Ms. Bailey was wrapped in a Christmas red plush blanket with white Santa-like fluff lining the edges, surrounded by family, as she watched fire crews work on the blaze before heading into the barn for shelter from the wind and cold with more extended family members and Mr. Pfendler.
She said while they were waiting for the fire department to arrive, three women in a vehicle stopped and let them sit inside to get warm. The ladies insisted on pooling their money together to give to the family to help them for the night. Remembering the kindness brought on a wave of emotion for Ms. Bailey.
Wind, frigid temperature and heavy snow fall before the fire could be completely subdued made it a challenge to fight, according to the Lewis County Fire Report, and Fire Departments in West Leyden and Turin were called for assistance with tankers, interior fire fighters and traffic control.
Constableville Fire Chief Jason L. Smith said it is important for people using pellet stoves and wood stoves to make sure the stoves have been serviced and cleaned of creosote build-up to prevent fires.
Mr. Pfendler and Ms. Bailey were assisted with financial support for shelter, food and clothing by the American Red Cross, as well as personal care items and stuffed toys for the children according to a news release issued by the organization.
There were no injuries reported in this fire.
The State Police, Lewis County Sheriff, National Grid, and the State Department of Transportation were also on the scene to assist.