Vacant house fire leads to suspected arson investigation in Lansingburgh

LANSINGBURGH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Fire crews responded to a suspected arson in Lansingburgh Monday evening.

Around 6 p.m. Monday, a vacant home on 113th Street in Lansingburgh caught fire. It was put out quickly thanks to a neighbor’s sharp eye and quick action, but questions remain how it was started.

“My anxiety went up,” MaryEllen Pettinger said. “I told my husband it was too close to home.”

Neighbors are now on edge as speculation began to swirl about what caused the fire to break out. Peggy Konack was on her way home when something caught her eye.

“I spotted smoke coming out and knew that it was a vacant building,” she said. “No reason for any smoke to be coming out and immediately called 911.”

In seconds, a wisp of smoke became a roaring fire that engulfed the back of the home. Firefighters quickly put out the blaze.

“Anytime we have an arson fire – even one instance is too many – so we’re not exactly sure, yet, that this is an arson, but it is a vacant structure,” Troy Assistant Fire Chief Eric McMahon said.

The city is no stranger to arson. In May 2015, a fire set on Second Avenue left one woman dead. And Pettinger said the garage near her home was set on fire just a few months ago.

“It’s too close to home,” she said. “They’ve been getting set because people don’t live in them no more, and I knew it was going to go up any day.”

She’s scared about what could happen next.

“Especially when you have kids and a dog, so it’s really hard,” Pettinger said.

Konack urged her neighbors to be vigilant when it comes to vacant homes.

“If you live near a vacant property, keep your eyes on it,” she said. “If I hadn’t been so aware of this property for so long, it might’ve missed my eye.”

One firefighter was injured when he slipped and fell from stairs. He’s expected to be okay.

The fire remains under investigation.

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