Survivor recalls last minutes of Jay Street fire

SCHENECTADY, N.Y – Anthony Cortese, survivor of the Jay Street fire, was the last person to see 59-year-old Harry Simpson alive.

Police say Simpson accidently set the fire two weeks ago at 104 Jay St. by trying to put a burning chair into the hallway.

Cortese credits Simpson with waking him and his neighbors, and getting them out of the building.

“If Harry didn’t wake me up, I would be dead,” Cortese said. “Harry woke me up, and he’s dead. I lived through it.”

Crews continue to demolish the buildings, and the city has extended the State of Emergency around the area until noon on Thursday.

Marty Kasper talked to Cortese about that night.

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