One dead, another badly burned in Schenectady fire

Crews on scene at Bradley Street fire

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Officials said one person has died and another was badly burned after a late night fire on Bradley Street.

Late Wednesday night, firefighters were called to a fire at 1588 Bradley St. in Schenectady.

“On arrival, we had a heavy fire condition, so we made entry to the building, and we were able to pull two victims out,” Schenectady Fire Chief Ray Senecal said.

One victim died in the fire. The second victim was flown to Westchester Medical Center where she later died. The victims have been identified as 68-year-old Benita Thomas and her daughter, 37-year-old Aishia Thomas.

Residents said Benita Thomas was a kind neighbor, and her family lived there for a long time.

“Came out after a bit and found a couple of the folks from the family that lives there and gave them a hug,” neighbor Gary Hughes said. “You know, there’s nothing else you can do.”

Gwendean Hines said she watched as people tried to save the pair trapped inside. A third person escaped without injury, according to Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett.

“I looked out the window when I seen just black smoke,” Hines said. “A lot of black smoke, and I seen two young men trying to rescue someone out of the house.”

Bennett called the fire a tragedy. Bennett said they do not believe the fire is connected to the string of fires that have recently taken place within the city.

“The fire chief has indicated to me that he does not feel that this fire is suspicious in nature, but they will through the course of the day make recommendations to him based upon their findings as to what they believe started this fire,” he said early Thursday.

The Schenectady Fire Department has since ruled the fire accidental, and it was started by an electrical issue in the basement.

“That’s all you can do is cry, you know,” Hines said. “It’s hard. I’m just sorry for their loss. Very sorry.”

Officials said eight first responders suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze. They are expected to be okay.

Officials called the home a total loss. It is scheduled to be demolished on Friday.


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