Plattsburgh Fire Department
An early morning house fire erupted on Couch Street on Sept. 20 with a SUNY Plattsburgh student sustaining serious injury.
At approximately 1:15 a.m. City Police received a 911 call reporting a structure fire at 15 Couch Street, a multi-unit apartment house where 11 people lived including several college students.
Patrol Officers responded with the fire department. Upon their arrival, flames were seen emanating from the second and third stories. A 21-year-old female was trapped in a third story window until the fire department could get to her with a ladder and rescue her. She was taken to CVPH and then airlifted to the Clark Burn Center at Syracuse Upstate University Hospital for treatment. According to a press release produced by Plattsburgh City Police Chief Desmond Racicot the young woman is in serious condition.
According to Michelle Ouellette, Associate Director of Public Relations and Publications, there were eight SUNY Plattsburgh students, including the young woman who sustained injuries, living at the house and one Clinton Community College student. It was unclear how many units the building had or how many other residents lived at the house.
City Detectives were called in to investigate the cause and origin of the fire. It was determined the fire was accidental and started in electrical wiring within the walls of a second story apartment.
Assistant Fire Chief Randy Stone said several departments aided in extinguishing the fire including the City of Plattsburgh, South Plattsburgh and District Three. The Peru and Cumberland Head departments were also on standby. Fire department members stayed on scene until about 7 a.m., Stone said.
In a statement, Plattsburgh State President John Ettling said: “Our thoughts are with the residents of 15 Couch St. and especially the injured student, who was airlifted to Syracuse for treatment. Our hearts are with her and her family as she struggles to recover from her injuries.”
Oullette said the college has partnered with Plattsburgh College Foundation and College Auxiliary Services to provide the students with meal access; new textbooks and school supplies and loaner computers. Guest rooms at the college will also be available for about a week for students to find more permanent housing.
Stone said the investigation into the cause and origin of the fire is still unclear though investigators remained on scene at 11 a.m.
The college also reached out to the Red Cross for additional support.
Anyone wishing to help with those efforts may contact the Red Cross or contact Project HELP at the Center for Student Involvement, 564-4830.
Project HELP and the Center for Student Involvement will host a meeting in the Cardinal Lounge, on Sept. 24 at noon, for all campus groups wanting to help the displaced students.
Ettling also wrote that “while we do not currently know the cause of this fire, it is a reminder to us that we can all reduce our risks by understanding fire safety and practicing fire prevention in our homes.”
In his letter he encouraged people to visit the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control website at http://www.dos.state.ny.us/fire/firewww.html and see below for additional tips provided by our University Police.
More information will be provided as it becomes available.