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Gouverneur apartment building destroyed in Friday night blaze

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GOUVERNEUR — A Friday night fire destroyed an apartment building at Clinton Street and Trinity Avenue and injured three occupants.

“It had a very good start,” said St. Lawrence County Fire Investigator W. Joseph Lacks.

Gouverneur firefighters at 10:09 p.m. were called to a six-apartment complex, owned by Robert Kolb, Watertown, at 48 Clinton St. and requested mutual aid from the following departments: Oxbow, Richville, Edwards, Harrisville, Antwerp, Theresa, Morristown, Canton, DeKalb and Heuvelton. Rensselaer Falls and Herman fire departments were also placed on stand-by status.

Two children and an adult male were treated and released after suffering from smoke inhalation, according to St. Lawrence County fire officials. The structure was deemed a total loss.

Nine or ten people were displaced by the fire, Mr. Lacks said. The American Red Cross was called in to meet their immediate needs.

There was insurance on the building.

The cause of the blaze has yet to be determined, but the area of origin has been determined to be a closet area in Apartment 48A, which faces Clinton Street, Mr. Lacks said. “We want to check wiring, things of that nature,” he said.

Two village police officers were on the scene right away, since their office is nearby, and were very helpful in pinpointing the area in which the fire started, Mr. Lacks said.

The investigator also said that rumors going around the area that the fire was suspicious or connected to a meth lab are untrue. “We found absolutely no evidence of that whatsoever,” he said.

The fire got into the roof and spread quickly through the 105-foot length of the two-story structure, Mr. Lacks said. The upstairs apartments were heavily damaged, while downstairs ones primarily sustained water damage, he said.

Ladder trucks from Gouverneur and Canton were brought in to help battle the blaze, Mr. Lacks said.

He estimated that the building was about 100 years old.

Gouverneur Rescue Squad members and National Grid workers assisted at the scene.

Volunteer firefighters were at the site of the blaze until shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday.

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