FORT COVINGTON –– Firefighters had a very busy weekend, battling significant fires in two vacant building and –– only a few hours after they finished fighting the second blaze –– staging their annual chicken barbecue fundraiser.

The first fire, called in shortly before 10:30 p.m. Friday, destroyed a vacant house on Covington Hill Street. The second, called in around 3:35 Sunday morning, left a vacant three-story apartment building on Chateaugay Street “a total loss,” Fort Covington Fire Chief Tim Webb said Sunday.

In both cases, the buildings were engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, Webb said.

The house in the Friday fire had been vacant for some time and was in “pretty dilapidated shape” before the blaze, Webb said. “There wasn’t much left by the time we got there,” he said.

One firefighter suffered from dehydration because of the heat of the fire and the general temperature and humidity, Webb said. No other injuries were reported.

In the Sunday morning fire, efforts to battle the blaze were somewhat hampered by a live power line that had fallen across Chateaugay Street, but otherwise the effort was “a typical attack,” Webb said.

In both cases, firefighters confined their efforts to battling the fires from the exterior only, he noted.

The causes of both blazes remained under investigation as of Sunday afternoon, Webb said.

The two weekend fires, as well as rekindle at the Covington Hill Street on Saturday morning, left Fort Covington firefighters very tired as they worked to put on a major annual fundraiser, Webb said. “It made it harder for our chicken barbecue,” Webb said, although he noted that event was sold out within 90 minutes of beginning despite heavy rains –– a result that demonstrated the strong community support the department enjoys, he added.

The first fire involved crews from Fort Covington, Bombay, Westville, Moira, Malone, Bangor and Hogansburg Akwesasne. The second involved crews from Fort Covington, Bombay, Hogansburg Akwesasne and Westville.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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