NY capital city fire damages homes, residents flee



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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A fire in New York's capital city heavily damaged five 19th century buildings and forced more than a dozen people from their homes, officials said Tuesday.

Albany fire officials said the blaze started around 9 p.m. Monday in a block of clapboard row houses. It quickly tore through the two- and three-story buildings on the edge of the city's Center Square neighborhood. Crews from Watervliet and Troy helped bring the fire under control.

No injuries were reported.

The popular downtown neighborhood, located a few blocks from the state Capitol, is a mix of brownstones, art galleries, shops, restaurants and nightclubs.

"There was lots of screaming, and shouting, pounding on doors. When I went outside to look, you could see flames just shooting out of the roof," said Paula Lemire, who lives across the street. "It just spread very, very quickly."

Dana Longley, who lived in one of the damaged Victorian-era homes, said she was outside when the fire started in the home next door.

"I just smelled something funny and walked out back and fire was pouring out of this place here," she said, pointing to the neighboring duplex. "Then the firefighters were banging on the door."

Mayor Kathy Sheehan said more than a dozen people were displaced and the city was working with the Red Cross to find accommodations for those not staying with friends or family. The buildings, while still standing, are unstable. Sheehan said that has made it difficult for investigators trying to determine the cause of the fire.

It was unclear whether any of the homes will be demolished.

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This story has been corrected to show the number of buildings damaged was five, not more than a dozen, and to reflect the name of the neighborhood is Center Square, not Central Square.

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