OGDENSBURG — Two people escaped unharmed from a fire at a Lafayette Street home Sunday afternoon after a neighbor who was mowing their lawn saw smoke and flames erupt from the back of the home.
The city fire department responded to a report of an active structure fire at 718 Lafayette St. at 2:31 p.m. Sunday and crews were on scene at 2:35 p.m. According to a Facebook post published on the Ogdensburg Professional Firefighters Local 1799 page, the fire was controlled by personnel by 2:47 p.m.
Neighbor Larry LaRose has been helping maintain the property at 718 Lafayette St. for about 50 years and was mowing that afternoon along the front of the property when he smelled and then saw smoke billowing down the lane located next to the home.
Mr. LaRose said two people were in the residence and he knew he had to react quickly in order to keep them safe.
“I pounded on the doors and windows because I knew they were in there,” said Mr. LaRose, who added that the two occupants eventually exited the home and escaped any injuries.
“The back of the house was on fire. She was going pretty good,” Mr. LaRose said.
He said the area that was damaged the most was what he called a “storage shed” connected to the kitchen and bathroom that were also extensively damaged.
“That’s all just destroyed,” Mr. LaRose said.
City Manager and Fire Chief Stephen P. Jellie said the cause of the fire was believed to be from improperly discarded smoking material and that there was no dollar amount yet attached to the damage caused by the fire, which was significant to the back portion of the home. Other portions of the house sustained smoke and water damage as well, according to Mr. Jellie.
According to the fire union Facebook post, Heuvelton and Morristown volunteer fire departments were dispatched to the scene with Morristown eventually being diverted to the city fire station. Heuvelton and Morristown were released from stand-by at 3:55 and 4 p.m., respectively. City firefighters were back in service at 4:20 p.m., according to the post.
St. Lawrence County Car 9 Mark Basford also responded to the fire.