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TICONDEROGA — Matters would have been a lot worse if Matteck Michalak hadn’t been home when the fire broke out in his basement.

Ticonderoga Volunteer Fire Department Chief Matt Watts said the homeowner heard sounds coming from his basement shortly before 1:50 p.m. today, and he decided to check it out.

That’s when he discovered that the electrical panel was ablaze and called 911.

The fire displaced Michalak; his wife, Kari; and their three children, but the contents of the home were salvaged.

They’ll be able to return to their home at 26 Park Ave. when the electrical panel is repaired, Watts said.

The fire damage was contained to the basement, and the upstairs of the residence suffered minimal smoke damage, he said.

The North Country Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the family with a place to stay in the meantime, the chief said.

The family has insurance.


When Watts arrived, there was heavy smoke in the basement, and flames from the burning electrical panel were spreading into the floor joist and the wall leading to the first floor.

Firefighters knocked down the fire in the panel with a dry chemical fire extinguisher and put out the rest with a hose.

“Our guys did a fantastic job getting here and quickly knocking it down, basically saving the house,” Watts said.

“If the homeowner hadn’t been here, I would be standing in his living room right now.”

Mutual aid was provided by Chilson and Crown Point.

All departments were back in service by 3:15 p.m.

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