Fire Destroys Owego Building

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Nov 17, 2009 at 6:26 PM EST

An Owego family is left homeless after fire sweeps through their apartment building.

Investigators say the building had smoke detectors, but they're unsure if they alerted the family.

But as Action News Reporter Julianne Sweeney tells us, everyone's just thankful no one was harmed.

This is what's left of 7 East Avenue in the Village of Owego.

Flames swept through the 2-story apartment building early Tuesday morning around 4:30 am...

Destroying everything in its path.

"We had heavy fire on the first floor in the front room, which extended all the way up to the second story." said Village of Owego 1st Assistant Fire Chief Dan Gavin.

Rachael Klug was asleep in one apartment with her 2 children.

Her mother and brother were in the other.

Her apartment had a smoke detector, but she does not recall hearing any alarm.

"I don't know how I woke up. I just woke up, and it was just black smoke." said Klug.

Tioga County Fire Investigators confirm the building had smoke detectors, but they're unsure if the devices were working properly.

The fire also shook neighbors from the sleep.

"Flames were shooting out and hitting my building at least 30 feet touching the top of my building." said Anthony Van Gorden of Owego.

Klug grabbed her 2 children, and they escaped through a second floor window.

Her mother and brother were able to get out safely.

"Right now I feel grateful that me and the kids are out and that we're safe." said Klug.

Tioga Investigators say a 1st floor space heater is to blame.

The building is considered a loss.

Still, Klug says her family is able to recover some of their belongings.

A local Realtor wants to help those left homeless after the fire.

Team Rein in Vestal says it's working with the American Red Cross of the Southern Tier to find housing.

It owns property in the Owego area that is ready to rent.

It plans to waive application fees and speed up the rental process.

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