Fire displaces ten in Plattsburgh - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Fire displaces ten in Plattsburgh

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On a cold night with temperatures below freezing, a blazing fire engulfed a Plattsburgh home - displacing a family of 10.

"The occupants were using a portable space heater under the crawl space to thaw some water pipes. It sparked the fire that destroyed the residence," said Chief Greg Burnell of the District Three Fire Department.

Firefighters say the family (6 adults and 4 kids) escaped without harm, but the house is a total loss. They responded to the call about the fire around 7PM Friday, and battled the blaze well into Saturday.

"The conditions were 30-35 degrees below zero with wind chills," said Chief Burnell.

The home owner's brother says his sister is devastated by the loss of her house. And although all 10 family members made it out of the inferno, they did lose all of their pets - including 3 cats and a dog.

"We had 5 firefighters with injuries, basically slip and falls on the ice. All were treated at CVPH and released," said Chief Burnell.

The bitter cold and icy conditions caused a lot of difficulties for the firefighters. Their fire engines were freezing up, and at one point the fire in the house rekindled. Firefighters say in freezing temperatures, water from their hoses created an ice rink.

"Ground freezes and traction becomes a challenge to say the least. And a firefighter in full gear, being top heavy to begin with, will have trouble keeping their feet underneath them," says Lieutenant Shawn Clark of the Plattsburgh Fire Department.

The victims of the fire are staying with family, and the American Red Cross is providing them with food, winter clothes, and other useful items.

"Toothbrush, toothpaste, things like that will provide a little bit of help to get through the next couple of days," says Lynn Gilbert of the American Red Cross.

Basics necessities for a family grieving with a big loss.

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