Massive Blaze in West Nyack Destroys House [PHOTOS]

4 residents escaped without injuries, officials said.

UPDATE (3:15 P.M. THURSDAY): Clarkstown police and town fire inspectors are investigating a massive fire that quickly destroyed a West Nyack home this afternoon.

Clarkstown police said four residents of the home escaped the burning single-family house without injury, and West Nyack volunteer firefighters said none of the more than 55 firefighters involved in battling the blaze at 5 Alex Court were injured.

Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles, with reports that the smoke could even be seen from Westchester County. The destroyed home is located on a cul-du-sac that is just one block off Demarest Avenue in West Nyack.

Firefighters said that as soon as they arrived they found the three-level home to be fully engulfed by flames, with flames shooting through the roof. Brian Leitner, second assistant chief of the West Nyack Fire Department, said the fire was raging so intensely that firefighters could not enter the burning structure.

Firefighters used West Nyack's tower truck to fight the fire from above, with firefighters using hand-held hose lines from the ground. Leitner said he considered bringing in a second tower truck, but conditions were already tight for firefighters and their equipment on the small street.

Volunteer firefighters from Central Nyack, New City, Valley Cottage and Nanuet assisted at the fire, with firefighters from Blauvelt on standby in case of other emergencies.

Police said four residents of the home were able to escape the fire without injury. They were alerted to fire by alarms in the home, which is owned by Christian Alexieff and Elizabeth Twomey, according to Clarkstown tax records.

The fire was reported at about 12:44 p.m. and by about 2 p.m. firefighters had extinguished the fire and were checking for remaining hotspots. Clarkstown police and Clarkstown fire inspectors were searching the wreckage in an effort to determine the cause.

Intense heat from the fire damaged the neighborhing home at 3 Alex Court. Siding on the home was melted and a fence was destroyed. No one was injured at the home.


A house fire at 5 Alex Court in West Nyack Thursday afternoon destroyed a home and sent a plume of smoke into the air visible from over a mile away.

Flames had engulfed the residence by 1:05 p.m.; volunteer firefighters from West Nyack, Central Nyack, Nanuet, Valley Cottage and New City fought to combat the blaze, unleashing several powerful streams of water into the fire.

The homeowner was in the basement when he heard smoke alarms ringing, authorities told Patch. He left his home through the front door to see the leaping flames.

No one was injured in the blaze, officials said.

The home is a three-story, single-family residence.

The heat from the fire damaged the side of an adjacent house—3 Alex Court—and melted the plastic fence between the two properties.

A neighbor about one block away who saw the smoke was the first to alert authorities.

The fire was out as of 1:48 p.m.

Stay with Patch as this story develops.

Mark Walker December 07, 2012 at 03:48 AM
I am very grateful to the West Nyack, Central Nyack, New City, Nanuet and Valley Cottage Fire Departments for their prompt response and containment of the fire. I am also grateful to the Clarkstown Police Department for getting my wife and son out of our house next door. My heart goes out to the Alexieff family, they are in our prayers.
Anthony December 07, 2012 at 05:22 AM
First tones were at 12:47. Updated info at 12:49 advised a fully involved fire as per PD. Blauvelt FD dispactched on mutual aid at 12:57. In the middle of those tranmissions, orders are being given to an incoming engine from West Nyack. So your "20 minute" time is factually incorrect.
Laura Rose December 07, 2012 at 07:19 PM
updated comment: , I saw a dark fast plume of smoke from nyack route 59 . Glad to hear no one was injured. I posted my pictures.
Craig S. December 08, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Maybe you should join your local Fire Department and help out instead of sitting at your keyboard taking cheap shots - Where do you come up with 20 minutes for firefighters to arrive on scene? Initial Fire Dispatch was 12:47 The PD was there in less then 2 minutes reporting a working fire and a Fire Chief was on scene at 12:52. By that time 3 other departments and 2 County Fire Coordinators were also responding.
Voice of Reason December 08, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I am also greatful for the volunteers and the police department. I don't want people to get the wrong idea from my above comments. I am not knocking the volunteers at all. I just wish we had a few paid fire fighters on staff in the fire houses ready to leave within a minute. Also, more fire training and public fire hoses near fire hydrants would help too.


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