HUDSON FALLS — The cause of a fire that damaged a house on Main Street in January has been labeled as undetermined but was likely caused by smoking materials.
Fire broke out at about 8:30 a.m. in the rear porch area of the three-story building at 1 Main St. on Jan. 20. Several area fire departments responded, including Hudson Falls, Bay Ridge and South Glens Falls.
No one was hurt, but the fire displaced five families and a total of 17 people.
Smoking materials could not be ruled out, but investigators could not determine the exact cause, according to a report obtained by The Post-Star through a Freedom of Information Law request.
Fire investigators determined that a pile of cardboard boxes on the left side of the porch was the fuel for the fire.
One of the residents said he was getting a drink of water when he saw the fire and attempted to put it out using the water in the glass. He told investigators that he believed the fire could have been started by the dryer exhaust, but that was ruled out. The dryer vent did not exit the house in a location that could have started the fire, according to the report.
Another resident said he smoked a couple of cigarettes on the back porch. He threw a butt in a metal bucket on the porch and another one in the driveway, he said.
Investigators did not observe any suspicious activity on video cameras.
The structure was not a total loss. Because of the balloon-type construction, the blaze spread quickly up to the third floor.
The house appeared to be unoccupied on Thursday.
Michael Goot covers politics, crime and courts, Warren County, education and business. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.