Plattburgh, Ny. - There have been three devastating fires in the last 24 hours - all in Northern New York; one in Black Brook, one in Keeseville, and the latest in Plattsburgh.
Last night’s fire in Plattsburgh left 10 people including four children without a roof over their head.
This home on Stafford Road in Plattsburgh is a complete loss after fire fighters fought for hours to save it.
“We had minor issues with the trucks freezing up. And some hand lines that were freezing up. And luckily we were able to work through everything and work through the cold,” said Greg Burnell, Plattsburgh District 3 Fire Chief.
All ten family members escaped unharmed; but the family dog is still unaccounted for.
Burnell says at least ten fire departments showed up to help fight the flames.
“It appears they had some frozen pipes in the crawl space and they were using an electric space heater to try to unthaw the pipes,” said Burnell.
Cold temperatures, icy conditions and last night’s strong winds made the fire really difficult to fight. Burnell says because of those conditions five of his fire fighters were injured, a few of them slipping and falling on the ice.
“They were all treated at CVPH and released,” said Burnell.
This fire was just one of three in the North Country since Friday.
“These frigid temperatures are really what are causing a lot of problems because people- they are trying to stay warm essentially,” said Lynn Gilbert, Executive Director of the North Country Chapter of the Red Cross.
Gilbert says in the last month the amount of aid they've provided has skyrocketed.
“I believe there were four days in the last 30 days that we actually had three incidents on the same night,” said Gilbert.
In all of 2012 the Red Cross spent $40,000 on aid but in just the last month they've spent more than $12,000 providing food, clothing, and shelter to families in need.
“It’s that time of year- its winter in the north country I guess,” said Burnell.
Fire fighters want to remind people to use extreme caution when trying to stay warm.
Chief Burnell says keep an eye on space heaters; don't let them run when you're away.
Use flash lights instead of candles and use a generator outside.
And as always - check your smoke detector to make sure it’s working.