A 69-year-old New City man was taken to Nyack Hospital for treatment for apparent smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in his Little Tor Road home early-this morning in New City, according to Clarkstown police and the New City Fire Department.
The blaze led to significant smoke damage and was just moments away from possibly engulfing the 190 S. Little Tor Road home, according to Fire Chief Kenny Flynn, who said the homeowner delayed calling for help by 15 to 30 minutes as he tried to fight the fire himself.
"He tried to put the fire out with pots of water," Flynn said. "The guy is extremely lucky he walked out of this house alive."
The fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. as a steady snow continued to fall from the storm that started Friday afternoon. Police said the homeowner awoke to a fire on the second-floor of the home. Flynn said he and other New City volunteer firefighters had to struggle through snow-covered local roads to reach the house.
The cause of the fire is uncertain, police said.
Flynn said that as he and other New City firefighters arrived at the home between Park Terrace and Hall Avenue he could see smoke and condensation indicating a fire on the second floor of the home. The homeowner, Flynn said, was at the front door of the home and it was immediately clear that the resident had been affected by smoke from the fire.
The fire broke out in an home office, with a chair and a desk catching fire and combining with other materials to create a lot of smoke. Although the homeowner was able contain some of the fire by putting water on it, Flynn said the delay in calling for help neary cost the resident his entire home — and possibly his life.
"The fire was seconds away from destroying the home," Flynn said, urging New City residents to immediately evacuate their homes and to immediately call for help if they suspect there is a fire. "The homeowner took a lot of smoke as he was trying to put the fire out."
No one else was reported injured and no one else was in the home at the time.
Two trucks and 20 volunteer firefighters from the New City Fire Department responded to the emergency. The victim was assisted members of the New City Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Corps and members of Rockland Paramedics.