Cohoes inferno leaves families, businesses displaced

Credit: Albany Permanent Professional Firefighters Association Local 2007 / Facebook

COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The City of Cohoes is still under a state of emergency.

It has been a busy morning and the city getting right to work with cleanup.

Mayor Shawn Morse says six different code enforcement officers from Cohoes, Green Island, and Albany County have a list of the 20 or so buildings that were affected by this fire. Right now, they’re going one by one to access the damage.

People in Cohoes woke up Friday morning and are coming to terms that all of this was not just a bad dream.

Many of them stopped by, looking on with shock and sadness.

“It was unbelievable,” Paul Marra, Owner of Marra Funeral Home, said.

Marra was just a few doors down from where the massive fire broke out.

“When I first looked over there the back of the building was on fire and the fire trucks showed up and I thought well the firefighters will knock it down but it just went through that building so quickly and blew out the front.”

He’s lived in Cohoes his whole life spending much of his time right here on Remsen Street so to see it go up in flames wasn’t easy to watch.

“I noticed the buildings across the street started catching on fire and then it started blowing up the street. I thought the fire truck was going to catch fire and they were hosing the truck down and trying to keep that cool.”

Fire Chief Joseph Fahd said the inferno intensified with each gust of wind as hot embers were blown around, attaching to rooftops and facades, some as far as three blocks away.

“When I came around the corner I couldn’t believe the amount of fire that was just blowing right down the street at us,” Fahd said.

Miraculously, after all of this, no one was seriously injured. There are at least a dozen families without a home and many business owners without a livelihood, just weeks away from the holidays.

“I did talk to one guy who lived in the first building who said he lost everything and he was just kind of in a daze,” Marra said.

One business is already showing their resilience.

Behind boarded up windows, employees at Rizzo’s were in early delivering floral arrangements for one of Marra’s services Friday morning.

“We’ve had fires before and we’ve overcome them so rest assure we will overcome this,” Mayor Morse said.

Morse even called in DPW crews first thing Friday morning to sweep up shattered glass and shovel out debris.

“It’s a great community we all live here and I’d love to see it come back,” Marra said.

As for donations, Mayor Morse says he’s been bombarded with calls from people asking how they can help.

He’s currently in the process of organizing all of that and figuring out who needs what and where it can be dropped off. He says he will release all of that information as soon as he can.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy also issued a state of emergency for Cohoes.

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