Schenectady County: Tenants’ smoking cannot be eliminated as cause of April 6 storage fire in Rotterdam


ROTTERDAMA large fire on April 6 in Rotterdam Self Storage started at a unit rented by an 80-year-old man who was seen outside the unit with a cigar in his hand and a towel he used to attempt to put out the blaze in the other, county investigators said Tuesday.

But whether the man’s smoking caused the fire was not stated with certainty in the fire examination by the investigative division of the Schenectady County Fire Coordinator’s Office.

“The Schenectady County Fire Investigation Team was unable to eliminate a hypothesis involving the ignition of combustible materials produced by smoking materials as potential causes of the fire, ”the report said.

However, open flames have been ruled out as a potential cause. Matches and lighters were found in the man’s unit, but they are not believed to be the cause of the blaze, the report said.

Other possibilities, such as the weather – 64 degrees with a 9 mph wind that day – were also ruled out as possible causes. of the fire at 103 Old Mill Lane.

Heating units, hot objects, electrical distribution, building wiring, wiring of household appliances, spontaneous combustion of heating and chemical reactions / agents were also ruled out as causes.

The self-storage company has 95 units made of concrete blocks with a common attic without a firewall in the attic. Each unit has its own overhead door, the ceilings were plasterboard and there is no electricity in the units, although the wiring in the attic runs along the structure for exterior lighting.

The fire caused extensive damage and partial collapse of the roof. On the day of the fire, investigators said the contents of at least 25 units had been destroyed.

According to the report, the north corner of the roof joists and ceiling was completely consumed by the fire.

Howard Iovino, whose address was the local Super 8, was in his unit when police and firefighters arrived, according to the report, which was provided to the newspaper on Tuesday in response to his request for the Freedom to Act Act. information.

Iovino arrived at the facility at 9:30 a.m., he reportedly told investigators.

Rotterdam policeman’s body camera showed Iovino smoking a cigar in the original unit of the fire and that he attempted to extinguish the fire.

The overhead door to his unit was fully open. The fire spread to the ceiling, spread to its two neighboring units, and then to other units, according to the report.

There were also matches and lighters in the unit, but they are not believed to have started the fire.

Iovino said he used a lighter to light his cigar. He was seen outside the unit with a towel in one hand and a cigar in the other.

The business has been inaccessible – fenced with a guard on the ground – since the day of the fire.

David and Erica Murrell are in litigation with the company. The Guilderland couple said they have assets valued at $ 200,000 in their unit. They said the items are intact and they want them back.

The company is owned by Prime Group Holdings of Saratoga Springs. He is a real estate owner and operator of self-storage facilities across North America, owning and managing over $ 3 billion in self-storage properties, with a portfolio of over 215 self-storage facilities. self-storage in 25 states and one US territory.

Joined Tuesday, COO David Decker said the company plans to rebuild.

“We will continue and hope to resume business as soon as possible,” Decker said.

Asked about his plans with the victims of the fires, he said: “WWe require all of our tenants to carry insurance and hope they will. We will work with anyone else if things escalate beyond that. I don’t know of any.

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Categories: News, Schenectady County

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