The snow and cold weather made fighting a fire in Schenectady a challenge. It broke out Thursday evening at 245 State Street.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — "We knew it was going to be tough because it was so cold out, and water was going to freeze quick, and that's just what happened."
Ladders iced, footing was slippery, and stairs were on fire. Still, firefighters put out the flames on State Street and searched for the occupants.
"There's three people that supposedly lived here. We're interviewing a couple right now that was on the second floor. One person is unaccounted for right now. We're still looking for them," said Deputy Fire Chief Vincent Krawiecki.
The two accounted for wouldn't speak on camera, but did accept Red Cross assistance while fire crews continued to work.
"Our investigators are on the scene. They're going to do a thorough investigation through the night, probably through tomorrow, because it's such a big building, and see what they come up with."
A woman reported as unaccounted for earlier is no longer an object of a search. Investigators said they were unable to call the informant back.
Two residents of the building are accounted for. They both told YNN they left the building before the fire began.
Two other possible residents have not been accounted for. One, we're told, is the male caretaker of the building. The second is possibly a woman whose mother called dispatchers to say her daughter lived inside.
The search efforts have been made considerably more difficult by snow, cold temperatures, and wind. The building is also a large, mixed-use building, with empty commercial space downstairs and hallways and stairwells on top, making it a challenge to navigate.
"We're still performing firefighting efforts here. I've also got the investigation underway. State Street is closed down. We have the weather to contend with as well. We've put a great deal of water on the fire but it's still giving us a few problems and we probably will be here for a while," said Chief Michael DellaRocco of the Schenectady Fire Department.
Fire crews have been knocking down flames from the front and back of the building since between 5 and 5:30 p.m., but now they're using flashlights more than hoses to search the building.
The two residents of the building that spoke to YNN would not go on camera, but made a point to say they left the building around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.