13 structure fires in 8 days in Franklin County

A home ablaze in Tupper Lake Sunday was the 13th structure in eight days in Franklin County.

“We’ve had four fatalities at two different fires: three at one (in Hogansburg) and one in Malone,” county Emergency Services Coordinator Ricky Provost said Saturday at the scene of an apartment fire in Saranac Lake – the 12th.

Why so many now?

“A lot of it is temperature stuff,” Provost said. “We’ve only had a couple related to chimneys, but we’ve a couple or three that were electrical draws on circuits – you know, overloaded circuits with electric heaters and things like that. And a couple of them we haven’t figured out at this point in time.”

The 11th fire happened Friday night and Saturday morning in the tiny hamlet of Santa Clara at the former Santa Clara Lodge, an inn converted into a home. Fire destroyed it, and part of the structure was knocked down while it was still burning “because it was unsafe to get to the fire,” Provost said.

Twenty-five fire departments responded: 15 from Franklin County and 10 from St. Lawrence County.

“I think we had 18 or 19 tankers drawing water and then some apparatus pumping water from the river to the scene,” Provost said.

Before they could get water from the nearby St. Regis River, they had to cut through 18 to 20 inches of ice, Provost said.