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Woman dies in Malone fire; Son airlifted to Burlington

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MALONE - A 45-year-old Malone woman died in a fire that destroyed her home at 20 South St. in the village early Tuesday morning.

Pamela Taylor perished in her second floor bedroom.

Two men escaped from the burning building –– Taylor’s 19-year-old son, Jared Smith, and her boyfriend.

Mr. Smith suffered burns and was airlifted to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt. His status as of 8 p.m. last night was still not being released. Taylor’s boyfriend was treated at Alice Hyde Medical Center for smoke inhalation following the fire.

Two Malone Village Police officers were filling their patrol car with gas at the village Department of Public Works when they “saw a glow in the sky” said Police Chief Chris Premo.

When they were finished, Sgt. Robert Fountain and Officer William Martin drove to South Street to investigate the light. When they arrived, they found the structure completely engulfed in flames. Mr. Smith came running out from the downstairs, Chief Premo said, with obvious burns. Officers helped him into their patrol car.

Meanwhile, Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend was attempting to coax her out of the upstair’s bedroom window onto the roof of the home’s porch. Police believe that one of the two had just recently called 911.

The man then came fully onto the porch and jumped onto a truck parked on the right side of the building. At this time, Ms. Taylor was still inside.

The home was already too involved for officers or firefighters to attempt a rescue, Chief Premo said, and there was thick, black smoke filling the air.

The Malone Callfiremen arrived shortly after police, within six minutes of a 4:24 a.m. call to 911 dispatch, according to a joint press release from the Malone Callfiremen, Malone Police Department and Franklin County Emergency Services.

Ms. Taylor’s body was located in the second story bedroom after the fire was extinguished. Franklin County Coroner Brian Langdon responded to the fire scene, the release said.

The fire was “fast moving,” the press release said, and involved all levels of the home. The structure was “a complete loss.”

Two adjacent buildings sustained minor exterior fire damage and two nearby vehicles were destroyed.

A neighbor who witnessed the spread of the fire to the home said that loud popping sounds drew him to the window at around 4:30 a.m. He said the car on the left side of the home was ablaze and the porch had just caught on fire, with flames spreading to the main structure as the Malone Callfiremen arrived.

Then, quite suddenly, the entire house shot up in flames, he said. The firemen did the best they could, but when the roof collapsed he could see fire in all the windows.

“I don’t know why it went up right quick,” the neighbor said.

He did not wish to be identified.

South Street remained closed throughout Tuesday as firemen continued to douse hot spots and investigate the cause of the deadly blaze. It will remain closed until the fire investigation is complete. Investigators left the scene around 6 p.m. Tuesday, and Chief Premo and Malone Fire Chief Paul Langdon confirmed that the site would be remain a crime scene for investigative purposes through the night so work can begin again Wednesday.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined. New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control investigators are leading the inquiry.

Mutual aid units from the Bangor, Brushton, Burke, Hogansburg/Akwesasne and Westville fire departments were called to assist at the fire scene.

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