Firefighters Battle Blaze at Saranac Lake Aubuchon Hardware
On the morning of January 25, 2023, a fire at the Aubuchon Hardware plaza in Saranac Lake, New York was discovered by the Saranac Lake Village Department of Public Works employees going in for their nearby shift. The Saranac Lake Fire Department was joined by multiple neighboring fire departments from Franklin, Essex, and Clinton Counties to fight the flames.
Saranac Lake Fire Department Chief, Brendan Keogh, said that the metal roofs on the building made it unusually difficult to gain access to the fire itself. By the time the fire was out most of the metal roof was completely burned through, resulting in a total loss for our store as well as the neighboring business, CED Twin Electric Supply. The other three remaining businesses also experienced significant damage, though the exact extent of the damage remains unknown.
Chief Keogh has confirmed that the fire began just before 3:30 a.m. By 7 a.m. there were more than a dozen fire departments on the scene from Tupper Lake, Bloomingdale, Lake Placid, Paul Smith's-Gabriels, Keene, Malone, Wilmington, Chateaugay, Hogansburg, Plattsburgh and Upper jay, among others. Saranac Lake Rescue Squad was also on standby at the scene. Firefighters were still battling the blaze at 9 a.m.
"Firefighters used a lot of water to battle the blaze. The water flooded Cedar Street into the BluSeed Studios parking lot, and across Broadway into the Woods and Waters lot. The parking lot of Aubuchon was flooded, in some places the water was knee-deep as the firefighters walked through it. A whirlpool formed above a drain in the lot, spinning debris and litter around." wrote Aaron Marbone from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Bonnie Krasher, neighbor and witness from across the road, described the flames as being 60 feet tall. "It was really bad. We watched it right up until 5 o'clock in the morning. I stayed glued to the window to see what was going on," recalled Krasher.
The number one question being asked: "What about the cats!?" Harry and Llyod are often referred to as small town celebrities. Since they were the only ones in the building at the time of the fire, their safety was a top priority. Chief Keogh was pleased to report that Harry and Llyod are safe and sound, both rescued within five to ten minutes of the fire department's arrival.
Long time store manager, Richard Hough, and two firefighters entered the store to corral the cats and safely bring them out of the burning building. We are indebted to Richard and the firefighters for putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure the safety of our feline team members; your bravery is an inspiration to us all! Pictured is Harry on the left and Lloyd on the right. Both of which are very friendly and well known throughout the Saranac Lake community.
Local customer Doug Haney and his family were relieved to learn that both Harry and Lloyd made it out of the fiery building unscathed.
Harry and Llyod have been relocated to our Lake Placid, NY store, about 25 minutes away. The rest of our team members have the option to continue employment at our nearby hardware store locations.
Fire investigators were on the scene and are looking into the cause of the fire. The New York Fire Marshal is leading the investigation. It has been reported that the fire originated from a neighboring business then quickly spread to Aubuchon Hardware.
“Unfortunately, the building has been declared a total loss. Aubuchon Realty Company owns the building and is working with us to determine our options. It will take over 24 months to rebuild, so we are looking for a short term lease to set up a temporary store in town.” said Charlie Aubuchon, VP of Operations.
Over the past century, we have been through some tough situations, navigating through wars, the Great Depression, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and pandemics. The truth is, we have seen a lot since 1908 and have always persevered. No matter what the world throws at us, we will continue to move forward. We are grateful for all of the outstanding fire departments across Northern New York that rushed into action to fight this large fire. The Saranac Lake Fire Department was on the scene just two minutes after getting the call! We are filled with gratitude that nobody was injured and are lucky to have such a dedicated crew of first responders!