Housing complex evacuated

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- More than 100 people were displaced Monday evening when a fire erupted in the fourth floor kitchen of the Hudson Malone towers in downtown Albany said Assistant Fire Chief Allen Cravey.

The American Red Cross and other emergency personnel rushed to the 95-unit five-story building for the elderly and handicapped Monday afternoon to transport the occupants away from the 26-year-old structure.

"The transit authority was called in to bus many of the people without relatives to the SOWEGA Council on Aging Senior Center on Pine Avenue," said Jim Vaught, EMA Deputy Director. "Fortunately, a good number of them have local relatives they can stay with."

Around 7:30 p.m. emergency personnel were taking flashlights and combing the building for the occupants medications.

"Many of them require insulin or other daily medications," Vaught said. "We are trying to find them as quickly as possible."

Cravey said firefighters responded to the call at 4:52 p.m. and were able to extinguish the flames.

"Our crews went immediately to the fourth floor where the fire was," he said. "Backup was called later."

A total of four units responded to the building to assist in the evacuations of the residents. Power had to be cut to the building because the fire moved through the electrical wires from the fourth to the fifth floor.

"We were able to evacuate the entire building within an hour," Cravey said.

Many of the residents were bound to wheelchairs and had to be carried down flights of steps by emergency personnel.

Paramedics checked residents on site and transported one patient was transported to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for further observation.

Around 6 p.m. many residents were on the lawn, wrapped in blankets provided by Phoebe, of the Hudson Malone towers waiting for relatives to pick them up.

Vaught said the American Red Cross and emergency personnel were still trying to assign displaced residents with a location to stay.

"I'm not quite sure what will happen," he said. "I think the residents may be able to get some motel rooms for the night."

Around 9:30 p.m., SOWEGA Council on Aging Senior Center personnel said 20-25 people were still waiting at the center.

The American Red Cross offered rooms at the Knights Inn to those that did not have anywhere else to stay tonight.