Wood stove may have caused house fire

VERMONTVILLE – Several fire departments responded to a house fire at 433 Swinyer Road Tuesday afternoon.

Kathryn Schenk was in the two-story house when she noticed small flames and smoke coming from above the wood stove. She immediately got her three children and three dogs out of the house and called 911.

“They were a little scared, but they’re all accounted for,” Schenk said. “It’ll be OK. Hopefully it’s just in the attic. We have tons of friends, so I’m sure we’ll find somewhere to stay.”

Schenk and her husband Jeremy own the home. Jeremy was not home when the fire broke out.

Second Assistant Chief Mike Cassavaugh of the Bloomindale Volunteer Fire Department was the first firefighter on the scene at 3:24 p.m. He said he concentrated on dousing the flames in the attic until help arrived.

“I put the flames out where I could there and went in the kitchen, where the ceiling around the stove pipe was starting to drop down,” Cassavaugh said. “There was a lot of fire damage to the kitchen area and the upstairs bedroom.”

Firefighters cut vent holes in the roof and used about 50,000 gallons of water to subdue the fire.

“There’s a lot of smoke damage and water damage,” Cassavaugh said. “Whether it’s a (total) loss depends on what the insurance company says.”

Cassavaugh said radiant heat from the wood stove’s stove pipe is believed to be the cause, based on the discoloration of the pipe.

The Bloomingdale, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Paul Smiths-Gabriels volunteer fire departments all responded to the call.

Senior Staff Writer Chris Knight contributed to this report.