Saranac Lake family stops fire in ceiling

SARANAC LAKE – Quick action by a local homeowner’s sons helped to contain a fire in the roof of a home here Sunday evening.

The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at Dave and Betsy Fuller’s residence at 121 Branch Farm Road at 6:26 p.m. (Editor’s note: Betsy Fuller has been added as an owner of the house.)

Fire Chief Brendan Keough said the family was just sitting down to dinner when the smoke detectors went off.

“They went upstairs and found they had a fire in the ceiling,” Keough said. “Dave’s two sons are members of the Paul Smiths-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department. They opened up the Sheetrock on the ceiling of a third-story loft and hit it with a fire extinguisher. They had stopped a good part of it by the time we arrived on the scene.”

Keough said his firefighters took over, finished ripping out a section of the ceiling and the wall, and extinguished the blaze.

“It basically burned the timbers in a fairly confined space in the ceiling,” Keough said. “It got into the timbers around the smokestack for their fireplace insert. There was a lot of damage from ripping out the Sheetrock and insulation.”

Keough said he wasn’t 100 percent sure that it was a chimney fire, but it appeared like the fire was sparked by a hot spot in the smokestack that ignited the surrounding wood timbers.

Nineteen Saranac Lake firefighters and two trucks answered the call, returning to the fire station at 8:15 p.m. Firefighters and pumper trucks from the Paul Smiths-Gabriels, Bloomingdale and Lake Placid fire departments also responded in mutual aid.

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or