Historic Charlton Tavern burns

A piece of Charlton's history was wiped away in the early hours of Saturday, Jan. 10, when the Charlton Tavern and an adjoining house burned to the ground.

The accidental fire was electrical, having started in the back of the kitchen, according to the Charlton Volunteer Fire Department, which responded to the blaze at 4:30 a.m.

Within 15 minutes, we had 100-foot flames coming from the building, said Charlton Fire Department Chief Dean DeCapria.

Winds spread the fire next door to 743 Charlton Road, the home of David and Lynda Green. Like the tavern, theirs was a historic structure dating back to the town's earliest days, and it was destroyed.

A relief fund for the Greens has been established by the Charlton Fire Department. Those wishing to donate may do so at any area Trustco Bank, or mail a check made out to David and Lynda Green to Trustco Bank, 286 Saratoga Road, Scotia 12302.

There were no serious casualties from the blaze, but three firefighters did fall on ice that formed in the low temperatures and suffered neck and back injuries. Fighting the fire was especially difficult because the spray from hoses froze instantly, and some hydrants were not even operational. Water tankers were brought in, as was salt to break up the ice.

Thirteen fire departments were involved on the scene, rotating in and out, and seven others were called upon to cover calls for responding units.

Located in the center of the rural town, the tavern " previously referred to as the Charlton House " was far more than a bar or eatery.

"It was certainly an integral part of the Hamlet of Charlton," said Supervisor Alan Grattidge. "It was an historic building and provided a place where people met and socialized. It's a huge loss for the town."

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