Rensselaer house fire leads to smoke-detector investigation

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After a devastating fire left three people dead and two others injured, many are now wondering if it could have been prevented and what can be done to stop it from happening again?

Candles and stuffed animals still sit in front of this home on Mann Avenue.

Neighbors here are still mourning the tragic loss and now one first responder is pushing for changes.

The haunting images from sunday night, still on many neighbors minds.

Flames destroyed the home, killing three family members who lived there and injuring two others.

The scene on Tuesday afternoon is eerie and quiet.

Snow blankets the vigil left behind to honor the victims. A tarp covers the much of the house.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said neighbor, Esteban Onate.

Onate was friends with the family. He saw the fire that night.

He says the flames spread quickly, a challenge for first responders.

While the investigation is still on-going, one investigator tells NEWS10 ABC they found no working smoke detectors in the home.

“They didn’t have any chance at all.” Onate

Former Clifton Park Fire Chief, Art Hunsinger has dedicated his career to saving people from fires like this.

“It’s just tragic,” Hunsinger said.

He says daylight saving time is usually when they ask residents to check batteries on smoke detectors.

“We are on a strong push every year to change your batteries, check your smoke detectors,” Hunsinger said. “Then to have something like this happen on the morning of that, it’s just heartbreaking.”

Now he wants to take it a step further and make it so that every home has a sprinkler system added as well.

“We’ve had studies, we can show that a fire grow in intensity every minute,” Hunsinger said.

So fast, that by minute four, a room can be completely engulfed.

He says adding a sprinkler could have a small blaze contained in under two minutes.

Hunsinger says he plans to bring that push for home sprinkler systems to state lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the investigation into this fire is still on-going.

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