TROY, N.Y. – The suspicious fire that broke out late Sunday night on 5th Street in Troy is continuing to be investigated by officials.
Two condemned, vacant buildings caught fire around 11:30 p.m. Sunday, and officials said an accelerant was used to fuel the flames.
The fire was so hot it melted garbage containers and sent sparks shooting from telephone poles.
“Those flames are 20, 30 feet in the air,” Troy Fire Chief Tom Garrett said.
Crews tore down what was left of the buildings Monday.
“Taking this building down is going to make the neighborhood safer,” he continued.
Red tape and warning signs surround the demolition site warning people of asbestos and dangers. Equipment was brought in to monitor the air quality.
“We got to do air monitoring in case there were asbestos in these buildings,” Garrett said.
Annee Borthwick has lived on 5th Street since 1975. She said she wasn’t shocked the buildings went up in flames.
“We were expecting something sooner or later to happen,” she said.
She said the empty buildings were a prime location for an intentional fire to happen.
“If you wanted to look for a place to have a fire, there it was, all ready,” she said. “It was totally open in the back.”
She and her neighbors are glad to see the city-owned buildings come down.
She said, “It’s relieving to not worry about somebody being trapped in it or bad things happening.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Garrett said it’s definitely suspicious.
“There’s no reason for a fire to start here,” he said. “There is no electricity hooked up to the buildings, there is not gas in there, there is no one living there.”
He said the size of the flames suggest the fire did not start on its own.
“It looked like some sort of an accelerant had probably been used,” he continued. “It doesn’t get going that good unless it’s got some help.”
The air quality readings have not shown the air is unsafe, and neighbors hope the property is turned into a park for children.