ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Firefighters are still trying to determine what caused a massive fire on Park Avenue in Albany on Wednesday.
Three buildings were destroyed leaving two dozen people without a home.
Wajid Shah, his wife, and their three little girls lived at 231 Park Ave. He said they moved from New Jersey to build a family and a new life.
“This was our first house; our first investment,” he said. “All of my savings I just put into there.”
But around 1 p.m. Wednesday, his life was flipped upside down.
“A friend of mine called me and told me there was a fire on Park Avenue, call your family to make sure everyone was okay, rush down here and see,” Shah said. “And unfortunately, my building was one of the ones that caught fire.”
Firefighters said the flames broke out on the back porch of 229 Park Ave. It quickly intensified and spread to the neighboring homes going roof to roof.
Officials said everyone got out unharmed, but the three buildings were destroyed. Everything the residents owned now sits in a pile of rubble. Shah said he still has to break the news to his daughters.
“They’re still under the impression that we’re trying to fix the house, and they haven’t seen all the rubble, yet, so it’s going to take a little while for them to cope with it,” he said.
For now, Shah said they’ll be staying with family while they work to figure out what to do next.
“Thank God everyone is okay,” he said. “Things can be replaced, but a life cannot be.”
Wednesday’s fire was the third fire within the last month, but the deputy fire chief said it’s an unfortunate coincidence.
The two previous fires were accidental. The Park Avenue fire remains under investigation.