A fast-moving fire destroyed a house on River Street in the village of Stamford last night, forcing a man, Nick Mattice, to jump to safety from the second floor of the structure before first responders arrived at the scene.
No injuries were reported, but the two-story wood frame residence is a total loss, according to Don Van Etten, the first assistant fire chief of the Stamford Fire Department.
The fire began around 7:50 p.m. on March 18, 2014 and blazed for hours before being extinguished by the combined efforts of four fire departments.
A family of four lived in the house, according to Van Etten, who asked that they not be identified. The family was later identified as Rose and Charles Mattice and their children, Nick and Sarah, by the Mountain Eagle. They are currently being helped by the Red Cross.
Three family members were home at the time the fire began, but two were safely located in a freestanding garage away from the house. One man, the son, was on the second floor of the house when the fire began.
"There was someone trapped on the second floor, but he was able to get out before we arrived," Van Etten said. "He went to a roof outside and jumped from there to the ground. He was OK. When we showed up, he was out."
The quick-moving blaze may have begun in the basement of the house, Van Etten said:
"It consumed the whole thing extremely fast. When we arrived on the scene, within 10 to 15 minutes, it was fully involved."
The Stamford Fire Department got a call about the blaze at 7:50 p.m. last night, he said, and soon Grand Gorge, Jefferson, and Hobart Fire Departments were also on River Street providing mutual aid. Delaware County Emergency Services and Cause and Origin investigators were also on the scene. First responders battled the blaze until 1 a.m. this morning.
A live power line fell near the scene, requiring NYSEG to shut the power off, and several propane tanks were on the scene, which required special handling, according to Van Etten. No propane tanks exploded.
The family that lived in the house "lost everything," according to Van Etten. "They're going to need everything."
Update: Several fundraisers have been set up to benefit the Mattice family, who have been identified as the owners of the house. You can donate to the Mattices online at this GoFundMe page, or at any NBT bank by asking for the "Mattice Family Fire Donation Fund." Contact Danielle Russo at [email protected] with questions.