Fire Destroys East Syracuse Apartment Units Fire Destroys East Syracuse Apartment Units

COLE KIRST: Flames torch at least six apartment units. N-C-C News reporter Karl Winter joins us live from the Clarendon Heights Apartments.

KARL WINTER: There is still smoke in the air here, hours after the fire began. Syracuse Fire responded to the 1500 building of the complex just after noon today.

Chief of Fire Michael Monds describes the scene they faced.

MICHAEL MONDS: They had fire showing on the second and third floor of the building right behind me. In the back of the building, fire was shooting out the back 40 feet in the air.

WINTER: The fire is out now, but Monds is wary about the roof of the building collapsing.

Clarendon Heights resident Piper Cooper says at least six units are destroyed.

PIPER COOPER: About half of the apartments are actually scorched. But what I heard is there is a lot of smoke damage.

WINTER: Structure damage is limited to the 15-hundred block, but the entire complex is without power right now.

Chief Monds says all residents were evacuated safely. An investigation into the fire’s cause is ongoing.

Ivy Ridge Road through the complex remains closed at this time.

In east Syracuse, Karl Winter, N-C-C News.​

Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) — A large fire quickly torched an apartment building in the Outer Comstock neighborhood in eastern Syracuse on Thursday afternoon.

The fire at the Clarendon Heights apartment complex sent plumes of dark smoke into the air just after noon.

Fourteen residents of the 1500 building are now displaced for the foreseeable future, as the City decides whether to demolish the remainder of the building.

No firefighters or civilians were injured in the blaze, Syracuse  Fire Chief Michael Monds said

“I believe it’s only the 1500 block, and about half the apartments are actually scorched,” Clarendon Heights resident Piper Cooper said. “But what I heard is that there is a lot of smoke damage.”

Cooper does not live in the 1500 block, but was without power and parking for the remainder of the afternoon, as officials attempted to identify the cause of the fire.

All residents of the building evacuated safely, but none could return to the building Thursday, as firefighters are worried about smoke damage and structure integrity in the remainder of the building.

Challenges of the Blaze

The first firefighters were dispatched in the direction of the smoke at 12:08 p.m. The department issued a second alarm minutes later.


Smoke billows into the sky
Smoke rises at Clarendon Heights at 12:29 p.m.
© 2022 Ryan Goettel

“Once they arrived on the scene, they had fire showing on the second and third floor of the building right behind me,” Monds said. “In the back of the building, fire was shooting out the back 40 feet in the air.”

Rescue crews made sure all occupants were evacuated, as the roof of the building partially collapsed. The blaze spread quickly, and temperatures in the upper 80s did not help.

“It was a challenging fire just because of the heat,” Monds said.

Humidity and heat from the blaze prevented firefighters from standing on a lawn near the building, Monds said.

The blaze briefly spread from 1500 Ivy Ridge Road to the adjacent building, 1502 Ivy Ridge, but firefighters prevented extensive structural damage to the latter. Both buildings are part of the 1500 block of Clarendon Heights, as they share a wall.

Sixty-five firefighters in total responded to the scene, according to an update on the department’s Facebook page.


Gaping, burned hole in building
The 1500 building of Clarendon Heights sits roped off more than three hours after the blaze broke out. Approximately half of the building’s roof collapsed in the blaze.
© 2022 Karl Winter

Next Steps

The Syracuse Fire Investigation Bureau and the Syracuse Police are investigating the fire’s cause.

This is not the first large fire at the Clarendon Heights complex — the cause of an accidental blaze in the 1300 building in January 2017 was found to be “improper disposal of smoking materials.”

The fire department and the city’s division of code enforcement will decide whether 1502 Ivy Ridge Road and the remainder of 1500 Ivy Ridge will be demolished.

“We’re assessing whether the building’s going to be demolished, what’s going to be habitable, what’s not going to be habitable,” Monds said.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross is “working with 14 residents that were displaced and secured access to a nearby recreation center to help those residents shelter from the heat,” according to the Facebook release.

Monds thanked the Red Cross for their assistance at the scene, and in finding the displaced residents a place to stay.

“They come to these scenes and they are a lifeline for us to help us support our citizens and our firefighters — to keep them hydrated and to make sure everybody has what they need to get through the incident,” Monds said.

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