Gloversville fire chief credits passerbys with saving lives

A furnace fire occurred at this home at 472 N. Main St. in Gloversville at about 8:15 a.m. today. Smokey conditions were reported and both the Gloversville and Johnstown fire departments responded. The fire was put out and no injuries were reported. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

GLOVERSVILLE — City Fire Chief Tom Groff is giving his thanks to two passerby’s who spotted a fire on Thursday and helped get people out of the house.

In a press release sent Friday, Groff said at around 8:10 a.m. the Gloversville Fire Department was dispatched to a smoke condition / possible structure fire at 472 N Main St.

The call to 911 came from a passerby, local business owner of Rizzo Trucking, Christopher Rizzo. Rizzo was not alone in recognizing the problem at the residence. Virginia Cary, a member of the city’s Department of Public Works, while on duty operating a city truck at the time also recognized the smoke in the residence.

“These two quickly sprang to action honking horns and pounding on the residence door. Cary and Rizzo alerted the sleeping residents and then entered the smoke-filled home. At great personal risk, the two pushed through the smoke-filled home to help the three occupants and their three dogs to safely and swiftly evacuate the home that was now completely full of choking smoke,” Groff wrote in the news release.

The Gloversville Fire Department arrived to witness the last of the occupants exiting the residence. The fire was quickly located in the basement gas furnace.

Fire Fighters performed a primary search of the residence and extinguished the fire within moments of arrival. Also dispatched to the scene were Johnstown Fire Department and the Ambulance Service of Fulton County. Johnstown Fire Department was released shortly after arrival and the Ambulance Service of Fulton County remained on scene to evaluate persons for smoke inhalation.

The fire damage was confined to the heating equipment and once the smoke was removed from the residence the occupants were able to return to the home.

“The keen observations and decisive actions of Cary and Rizzo helped save life and property on this day,” Groff wrote. “They truly deserve our collective thanks for their selfless and heroic actions.”