Major overnight fire displaces residents in Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An overnight fire in Rotterdam left five people without a home. Investigators are still trying to figure out how it started.

The fire broke out at 3271 Guilderland Avenue just after midnight. More than 10 hours after it broke out, firefighters returned to the scene after the flames reignited.

Lou Perry, who lost his home in the fire, says his wife woke when she heard cracking and snapping from the fire.

“I raced her out, got her out, then went back in a put my pants on,” said Perry. “I didn’t have any pants on. Then I ran outside and by then I had to run through a stairwell full of flames.”

Perry miraculously made it down that flight of stairs. His neighbor, Paul McMahon, was still fast asleep.

“Someone banged on my door, I was in bed,” said McMahon.

He, too, was able to get out safely, but says he still hasn’t found his cat.

“Orange, peaches, his name is peaches,” said McMahon. “He’s 16-years-old.”

The top floor of the building houses four apartments. The bottom floor is a large garage. NEWS10 ABC is told the owner of the building collects European cars and has restored many over the years. It appears as though he’ll be able to salvage the cars parked inside.

The owner of the building was too emotional to speak on camera, but said he built the building with his own hands in 1963.

“The landlord knows that I’m here side-by-side, whatever he chooses to do,” said Perry. “If he chooses to rebuild I’ll help rebuild. He’s a good friend. He’s a good man.”

In the meantime, Perry says he’ll get by with the help of his friends and family.

“We do have renter’s insurance. Red Cross gave us a few bucks to put a roof over our head for the next few nights and thank god for friends,” said Perry. “They’re all pulling through. They always do.”

The Fire Chief says he believes the fire broke out on the back porch of an upstairs apartment. But he says it could take up to a week before investigators to determine exactly how it started.

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