More than 30 people were forced out of their home after an early morning fire in downtown Saratoga Springs. YNN's Matt Hunter reports.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- "I was making breakfast and my friends were on the back porch,” recalled Aone Wyche. “I was in the kitchen and a guy ran out naked and a girl came out screaming ‘Fire, fire!’”
Spending the summer in Saratoga while she works at the track, Wyche's morning was frantically interrupted when a fire broke out at her Woodlawn Avenue apartment early Sunday morning.
"I went that way and I knocked on everybody's doors, screaming, yelling, banging, kicking, making sure everybody got out," said Wyche, who hails from Queens.
"She was like 'Fire, fire, fire!' and we jumped up and ran out the house," said Latisha Thompson, who also seasonally works in Saratoga for NYRA.
Investigators believe the fire started at 108 Woodlawn Avenue around 4 a.m. before spreading to at least three neighboring row houses. All are considered total losses.
One of 30 residents in the row of buildings, Thompson lost both her apartment and car to the flames.
"I'm just in shock, that's it, I don't have any words, I don't know what to say,” Thompson said. “I never expected this did, no one did."
According to Saratoga Springs Police, 16 residents were home the time the fire started but all got out safely.
"At this point we have accounted for everyone that we know of that was registered to be living in the row houses," Saratoga Springs Police Lieutenant John Catone said.
Crews had the fire control by late morning but investigators had yet to pinpoint a cause due to the level of damage.
"We're going to be quite some time before we can even get in there to do a, and if, we can even get in there to start an investigation," Catone said.
While Red Cross volunteers were on hand assisting victims, the building's residents, both seasonal and long-term, are left searching for a new place to stay.
"It's something you think can never happen to you and it's just been a bad night, it's just been a bad night all around," Derek Daye said.
"All of our stuff is in there,” Wyche said. “We're from downstate, everything we've got is in there, we can't even go to work today. It's unreal today."
Of the people displaced in the fire, 18 worked at Saratoga Race Course. Nine of those employees worked directly for NYRA, and will receive $500 in emergency pay. Those nine employees will also be paid for working Sunday and Monday, whether they show up or not.
Employees looking to seek refuge with family downstate will be given positions at Belmont or Aqueduct.