Paula Mitchell

Paula Mitchell

WEST HURLEY–An 89-year-old woman trapped on an upper floor of her historic home on John Street died early on Thursday as a blaze swept through the structure, according to fire officials.

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: West Hurley Fire Claims Elderly Woman

Photo by John Bechtold.

Within seven minutes after their arrival, firefighters found the homeowner and sole occupant, Anna Olsen, on the second floor by a bedroom door, said West Hurley Fire Chief David Gutierrez.

“We brought her out, and tried to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and, unfortunately, she was not revived and was pronounced dead at the (HealthAlliance) hospital.”

The fire, which broke out at 33 John Street at 1:25 a.m., was caused by a malfunctioning light on the attached garage that ignited a nearby bird’s nest, the chief said.

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: West Hurley Fire Claims Elderly Woman

Photo by John Bechtold.

A firefighter from West Hurley who made the initial attack on the blaze was treated for heat exhaustion at HealthAlliance’s Broadway campus and released.

Gutierrez said when firefighters got to the scene, they found thick, heavy smoke and heat throughout the house.

“They began attacking the fire while a group of three began searching for the victim, which we were aware was in
the house,” he said.

The chief described the home as an early 20th-century, two-story, wood-framed house that had, along with about 20 others, been moved from its original location at the site of the Ashokan Reservoir when the New York City Department of Environmental Protection began building it.

“It was a very good, balloon-styled house. It really held the heat inside, and the fire never made it to her bedroom,” Gutierrez said, adding that the house is “rebuildable.”

Crews had the blaze under control in about 30 minutes but remained on the scene for three hours. Firefighters from Olive, Centerville and Cedar Grove and Ulster Hose worked at the scene, while Sawkill and Woodstock fire companies were on standby.

 

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