Heating unit blamed in blaze

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NEW YORK MILLS — A fire that displaced a family of five on Greenman Avenue early Friday morning has been blamed on a wall-mounted heating unit, according to fire officials.

“We’re going to be ruling it accidental. It was related to a gas heating unit that was mounted on the wall in the kitchen area,” said New York Mills Fire Chief Rick Ulinski. One of the residents had turned on the heat about an hour before the fire, hoping to heat up the chilly home.

Chief Ulinski said smoke detectors alerted the family and they fled the home at 14 Greenman Ave. One of the residents “flagged down a car that was passing by and that person called 9-1-1” at about 5:45 a.m. The resident then suffered a burn to his arm when he tried to retrieve some medications from the home, the chief said.

“There were heavy flames coming out of two windows on the second floor at the rear of the building,” Ulinski described. He said he was the first on the scene. “It was a well-involved fire.”

Two adults and three children are displaced, and they are staying with other family, authorities said. The property is owned within the family and they do have insurance, the chief stated. The American Red Cross is aiding the family. The New York Mills, Yorkville and Whitesboro fire departments responded.

Initial responders launched an exterior attack at first, the chief said, and cleared enough of the flames to send firefighters inside.

“When we had knocked down the initial flames, we sent our interior crew in to take down the rest of the fire. Our crews did a good job,” Ulinski stated.

The flames were declared under control in about 45 minutes, the chief said. The damage was contained to one side of the building, and Ulinski said the home is “not a total loss”, with repairs possible.

No firefighters were injured.

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