A fast-moving fire at a condominium complex in Montrose Friday night left 12 units uninhabitable and displaced approximately 25 residents.
The blaze at Coachlight Square, which is located off Kings Ferry Road, broke out at about 9:45 p.m. in one of the units in an L-shaped row and traveled quickly in the attic space of six attached condominiums before running into a fire wall that protected the other six units from going up in flames.
More than 100 firefighters from 15 fire companies responded to the scene and put out the fire in about two hours.
All residents were able to escape safely and some received assistance from the American Red Cross. One Verplanck firefighter was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
“It was a tough fire,” said Verplanck Fire Chief John Scheembary, whose department led the coordinated effort. “It was already pouring out the back windows when we got there.”
Scheembary said six of the condominiums were destroyed and two others suffered severe water and smoke damage. Four others also had to be evacuated because of smoke and the lack of electricity and running water.
“It smelled like 10,000 burning marshmallows,” one homeowner remarked in describing the smoke smell.
Bruce Fulgum, owner of Fulgum’s Bar in Montrose, and his family lived in one of the condominiums that was destroyed.
“Lost our beautiful home last night. We are devastated,” Fulgum wrote on Facebook. “Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. Such a great community we live in. A special thanks to all the first responders and the multitude of fire companies responding. Shannon and I can’t thank you enough.”
Scheembary noted an arson dog was brought to the complex by the Westchester County Police, which changed the situation from a fire scene to a crime scene.
The County Police are leading the investigation into the cause of the fire.
“Due to the significant damage caused by the fire, the Westchester County Police are investigating, however the cause of the fire has not yet been determined,” said Kieran O’Leary, a spokesman for the County Police.
Cortlandt Councilman James Creighton expressed his sympathy for the families left homeless and vowed to offer assistance in any way the town can.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families as they deal with this and look to rebuild and recover. We at the town will do everything we can to help expedite things and assist in any way possible,” Creighton stated on Facebook. “So many in the neighborhood are looking to assist, and there will be many opportunities to show our love and support for all the affected families and our brave emergency services personnel. Let’s come together and show that our community is strong, loving and can work together at such a difficult time.”