Albany, New York, Area Volunteer Ambulance Squad
THE ALARM WAS SOUNDED for the Rensselaer Fire Department to respond to the Rensselaer Ambulance Squad building about 3 am Friday morning. They found a fire burning in the bunk room and spreading into the lounge when they got a line on it and knocked it down. They had it out in about 25 minutes. There was nobody in the building when the fire started, but two ambulances were parked inside.
Donald Rugenstein, president of the Rensselaer Volunteer Ambulance Service, said the building is structurally sound but that the fire department has not yet allowed any of the members inside to assess how bad the damage is – including whether either of the two ambulances were damaged by the fire.
"From what I'm told, the fire started in the bedroom, which is on the bottom floor, and then it traveled out into a sitting area where we have a TV," Rugenstein said. He said the sleeping area also contains a mini-fridge, microwave and coffee pot but didn't know whether anyone was in the station last night.
Rugenstein said the heat in the ambulance bays was apparently hot enough to melt a smoke detector. He also said the fire damage was limited to the first floor, but that much of the rest of building – including a second-floor event space that accounts for a big chunk of the ambulance squad's income – was damaged by smoke.
"We're going to have to go through all the equipment to see if it was damaged," he said. "It could put us out of service for a while. Not a long while."
WXXA-TV Ch. 23 filed this brief video report:
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