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POV: Learning lessons on fire prevention

The writer is a resident of the Beltrone Living Center.

A fire broke out at Fenimore Trace apartments in Watervliet early on the morning of Sept. 20. The fire damaged 21 apartment units, and Building 12 had to be destroyed that evening.

The week of Oct. 7-13 was designated as fire prevention week. I am a 13-year resident of the Beltrone Living Center in Colonie.  The Colonie fire department held a meeting at our independent living facility during fire prevention week. In attendance at the meeting were the fire marshals (volunteers from our building) to discuss fire emergency procedures. There was a video shown and training on the operation of the fire extinguishers.

I have attended many meetings regarding fire prevention, but this year I made sure to pay close attention to the details. Three weeks prior to the fire marshal meeting, the fire at Fenimore Trace apartments had occurred.

My grandson, David Lombardo, had recently rented an apartment in Building 12 on the second floor. On the morning of Sept. 20, he was awakened at 3 a.m. to a strange odor in his apartment. He quickly called 911 to report the odor, but at that time, no problem was found. However a few minutes later, he smelled smoke and saw smoke coming into his bedroom window. He immediately threw on his jacket, his flip flops and ran outside. Looking backwards at his apartment, he saw flames shooting out of the third floor roof. He quickly called 911 again to report that the building was totally engulfed in flames.

The fire departments of Watervliet, Troy, Green Island and others responded immediately, and the quick actions of the fire departments helped to save lives. People that were trapped in the third floor were hanging out windows; luckily, all were rescued safely. My daughter and son-in-law, Robin and Dominic Lombardo, were called by David and were at the scene in minutes. The fire department helped to keep what could have been a totally chaotic situation in control.

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