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Winter weather partly to blame for destroyed home in Town of Paris

By ANNA MEILER

TOWN OF PARIS, N.Y. (WKTV) -- A wood-stove in the basement of a house in the Town of Paris, may have caused a roaring fire overnight.

Fire crews got to 3151 Mohawk Street around 1 a.m. Monday morning.

The homeowner is a life-long member of the Sauquoit Fire Department. Mark Decker escaped safely with his wife, thanks to a smoke detector, but their home was reduced to charred piles of rubble.

Firefighters couldn't even see flames when they first arrived, but it quickly escalated. The home is a total loss, partly because of the terrible winter weather conditions.

They weren't just fighting fire, the Sauquoit fire chief says crews were battling 20 to 30 mile per hour wind gusts, icy roads and snow. With no hydrants along this road, tankers were called to deliver water. But the hydrants where they filled up were frozen, delaying the response even more.

In perfect conditions, crews can extinguish a fire within the first half hour. This fire took five hours just to contain and that's with the help of nine other departments called in for backup.

The chief says if the weather had been better, it may have turned out much differently.

"Those kind of conditions never help. They always make things harder. You try and plan for it, but you never know what's going to happen. It was cold, the wind was blowing pretty good. It did start snowing on us quite a bit, we got a couple inches of snow overnight. One thing added up to the other and the outcome was unfortunate for the family," said Adam Smith, Chief of the Sauquoit Fire Department.

The homeowners are staying with family and the fire is currently under investigation.

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