Friday, March 15, 2019



Residents jump out second-floor window to escape Port Jervis house fire

PORT JERVIS – Ten people made narrow escapes from a two-alarm structure fire at 18 Erie Street in the West End section of Port Jervis mid-morning on Thursday. Two other occupants, children, were in school at the time of the fire.

Looking up Holbrook Street toward Erie Street

Eight of the 10 who were at home were forced to jump from a second-floor window located in the rear of the house. They found themselves in thick, choking smoke and flames around them as they jumped to the ground below. The other two made their way through a suddenly smoke-blackened downstairs to a front door exit. 

Despite the rapid arrival of firefighters and immediate water on the blaze, within minutes of a neighbor’s call to 911, the house was consumed in fire that extended throughout the structure at a rapid pace.

Emergency personnel tend to some of the victims

Residents and family of the victims said the eight upstairs chose to jump, fearing they would die if they remained in the house. 

The single-family house is listed as having been built in 1920,  One resident stated that eight people lived in the house, two were visiting from Florida, and two others had just stopped by to visit.

A baby was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla by emergency teams.  The other nine victims were transported to Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis and Orange Regional Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill.  All were treated at the scene by ambulance personnel and assisted by firefighters, police, family and neighbors.

One of the residents said most of the people in the house were upstairs because of heat issues downstairs.  He said the furnace had been intermittently going on and off, and it was warmer upstairs than down.  He was unsure if the landlord, whom he said lives in New Jersey, had been notified.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Fire investigators remained on the scene through the afternoon.  


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