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Fire destroys Malone apartment complex

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MALONE - An apartment building at 3 Morton St., Malone, was left uninhabitable following a Tuesday afternoon structure fire that sent a tenant to Alice Hyde Medical Center for treatment of first- and second-degree burns.

Fire officials were not available for comment on the fire’s cause. Malone Village Police Chief Christopher Premo said Tuesday evening there was no indication thus far that the fire was the result of any kind of foul play. He added that the final determination will be up to Malone fire officials.

Scott Betters, the injured tenant, was in good condition, according to Alice Hyde staff. He had been rescued from the building by three Malone Village Police officers and a member of the Malone Callfiremen. Officers Nate Preve and Nick Hebert responded to the scene and were there before firefighters. Mr. Preve said the duo noticed Mr. Betters hanging headfirst from his second-story window to the rear of the building. He said he went up a set of stairs and onto a metal roof to try and help Mr. Betters down. He said ice made the roof extremely.

“I was trying to hold onto him (Betters). Nick was holding onto my jacket and anything else he could to stop me from falling,” Mr. Preve said. “Safety was out of our vocabulary at this point.”

Mr. Preve and Mr. Hebert were treated for minor smoke inhalation by the Franklin County Rehab Team.

They were able to get Mr. Betters to safety with the aid of Officer Brian Miller, who was off-duty, and John Russell of the Malone Callfiremen. The pair found ladders on the property and assisted getting him to the ground.

A significant crowd had gathered along East Main Street and down Morton Street while flames leapt from the structure. Among the observers were the building’s landlord, tenants and some neighbors.

Hugh McCann, who owns the 3 Morton St. property, appeared close to tears. He said nine residents occupied four units, and the building was insured.

Neighbors first saw the flames and called 911. Ginny King was shoveling her 5 Morton St. driveway with her 10-year-old daughter, Chloe, and five-year-old son, Chace Avery.

“We were shoveling and she said ‘Mom, that house is on fire,’” the mother of two said, adding that she didn’t believe her initially but then saw smoke and heard glass breaking and calls for help. She immediately called 911.

“Good thing we went shoveling today,” Ms. King said.

Several tenants stood and watched the firee consume their home, including 70-year-old Everett Pecore and a tear-stricken 24-year-old Amanda Boyea. Mr. Pecore said he lived in the building with his son, Joey, who alerted him about the blaze. He added that he was glad no one was seriosuly injured or killed. He and his son escaped unharmed.

Nine local fire departments had been called to the scene throughout the day, including Malone, Bangor, Constable, Westville, Fort Covington, Brushton, Burke, Chateaugay and Hogansburg/Akwesasne.


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