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Mon., Aug. 31
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Helena couple lose home to chimney fire


HELENA - A Helena couple lost their older farmhouse after a chimney fire spread into the walls Saturday morning.

Helena Fire Chief Frank Burns said firefighters were called to the Jack and Dori Odel residence at 2501 County Route 55, just outside the hamlet of Helena, at approximately 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

“The kitchen on the first floor and an upstair’s bedroom were fully involved when we arrived on scene. We were able to hold until it the other departments got here. It was tough because of the high winds,” Mr. Burns said.

The building was still standing, but Mr. Burns said it was not habitable. “The two rooms were burned out, and the rest of the house suffered heavy smoke and water damage,” he said.

The Helena fire chief said he believed the couple were out feeding and watering horses they board in their barn when the fire broke out.

He said the Brasher-Winthrop, North Lawrence. Massena departments sent tankers, other equipment and manpower to the fire scene. Tri-Town Rescue and the state police also responded to the call.

Bombay provided standby at the Helena station, and West Stockholm was on standby at the Brasher-Winthrop station.

Mr. Burns said the Red Cross was notified, and the couple are staying at a friend’s house. “One of our firefighters had a vacant house, and he offered it to them,” he noted.

The home was not insured.

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