Conesville fires leave nine homeless


By Jim Poole

Two fires within 12 hours left nine people homeless in Conesville Sunday night and Monday morning.
The first was on Potter Mountain Road in Manorkill; the second was on Route 990V in West Conesville.
Concetta Defreitas, the owner of the Manorkill house, was returning home with her two children shortly after 11:30pm Sunday when she saw smoke coming from the structure, according to Schoharie County Fire Coordinator Matt Brisley.
Ms. Defreitas called 911, and the Conesville Fire Department responded, also calling in mutual aid.
Mr. Brisley said the east side of the house was mostly destroyed, though the west side wasn't too heavily damaged.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Mr. Brisley did not think it was suspicious.
The house had four apartments. Ms. Defreitas and her children lived in one of them, and another woman with three children, all of whom were not there when the fire started, lived in another.
The second fire broke out at about 7am Monday. A woman saw flames in the front of a neighboring house belonging to Don Dawson. She called 911 and then alerted Mr. Dawson and his girlfriend, who were sleeping, Mr. Brisley said.
The couple escaped, he added.
Conesville volunteers responded once more and again called mutual aid.
The Dawson home was completely destroyed, Mr. Brisley said, and the heat of the fire melted siding on a nearby home and also melted insulation on power lines running to the Dawson house.
The exhaust for a pellet stove was too close to combustibles, and that caused the fire, Mr. Brisley said.
"It was an accidental fire," he added.
The American Red Cross of Northeastern New York is helping all three families by providing money for food and clothing. In some cases, the Red Cross also provided temporary lodging and comfort kits and helped replace medications lost in the fire.