Elderly couple escapes flames in Nanuet

Fire officials say the fire broke out at 45 Mesa Place around midnight.

Fire officials say the fire broke out at 45 Mesa Place around midnight. (4/1/16)

NANUET - An elderly couple safely escaped the flames of a fast-moving fire in their Nanuet home overnight.

Fire officials say the fire broke out at 45 Mesa Place around 12:15 a.m.

Seven different departments responded to the call, and when crews arrived the flames had already engulfed a second-floor back deck and had begun to spread to the house. They say the fire was difficult to fight because of lack of water and a partial roof collapse. An explosion, from possibly a propane tank on the back deck, helped fueled the blaze.

The homeowners, who neighbors identify as Barry and Adrian Stern, have lived in the house for more than 30 years. They say the couple was trying to put the fire out themselves when crews arrived, which can be extremely dangerous. "The homeowner was in the back with a garden hose trying to extinguish the flames. We do ask that any homeowner, if there's a fire in your house, the most important thing is 911," says Peter Walker, from the Clarkstown Police Department.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but it does not appear to be suspicious. The house is badly damaged and will most likely have to be torn down.

Police say the couple is staying with friends.

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