More than a dozen people forced out by large fire on Madison Avenue

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Four historic buildings in Albany are completely destroyed by a fire that happened Monday night on Madison Avenue.

More than a dozen people have been forced from their homes.

Dana Longley is just going through the motions and is still in shock as she tries to salvage anything she can after the devastating fire.

“I’m just trying to get things that are irreplaceable out of there,” Longley said.

Her building, 410 Madison Ave., will come down along with 404,408, and 406 where fire officials believe the blaze began on the 2nd floor.

Flames tore through the roof around 9:00 p.m. and forced at least 16 people from their homes.

“I just went into full panic mode. I called 911 and tried to find my cats,” Longley said.

Smoke filled the block and flames quickly jumped from one building to the next.

“At one point, you just thought that this fire was never going to go out,” Mayor Kathy Sheehan said. “All the water and all the resources on it and to still see those flames.”

Fire investigators are sifting through charred debris, searching for clues into what ignited the blaze.

“There were a lot of lightning strikes and we’re looking into that. A lot of it is damaged which has created a problem in that everything’s pretty much gone in the back of 406,” Albany Fire Chief Warren Abriel said.

The row of historic homes dates back to 1861.

One man eagerly watched crews take down an old wooden railing post, something he didn’t want lost among the rubble.

“These are hand turned and hand made. I did architectural reproduction for 25 years,” Peter Leue, of the Historic Albany Foundation, said.

As Longley prepares to say goodbye to her home of nearly eight years, she’s grateful for what belongings she can save.

“I’m okay, you know. My cats are good. I have strong friends and family here so I’ll be perfectly fine.”

Demolition crews are ordered to preserve 412 Madison Ave but the other four will be torn down.

Mayor Sheehan says so many people have reached out looking to help so they are in the process of setting up a spot where people can bring donations for the victims.

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