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Residents Reflect After Fire Engulfs Mt. Vernon Home

Mount Vernon apartment building fire on 12-20-10 (credit: CBS 2)

Mount Vernon apartment building fire on 12-20-10 (credit: CBS 2)

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MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBS 2) – In Westchester County, tenants ran for their lives Monday as fire and smoke engulfed their three-story home just days before Christmas, Jay Dow reports.

“I started seeing like smoke, then I popped the back door, and then I looked up on the roof, and I saw the fire,” said homeowner Burchell Morrison.

With his wife and children vacationing in Georgia, the long time Mt. Vernon resident was home alone in the second floor apartment of a three-family home on South Second Avenue.

After discovering the flames, he said he called 911, then quickly helped his first floor tenants get outside, to safety. By the time the Fire Department arrived, the third-floor apartment where the fire started was totally engulfed in flames.

“The fire was on the roof, it seems,” Morrison said. “Nobody lives up on that floor.”

Fortunately, there were no injuries as firefighters struggled to get their equipment into position. “It was a heavy volume of fire, actually, and this location of the street is kind of small for our ladder trucks. It was a bit difficult,” said Fire Chief Alfarid Salahuddin.

Crystal Barnes, who lives with her family on the first floor, said shes doing her best to comfort her younger siblings. “Yeah, I’m just trying to stay positive. You lose your house, and you just try to keep your sanity. Right now I want to stay positive for my younger sister and younger brother because they’re young, and holidays are really, really important.”