Authorities: Newburgh fire displaces 18 residents, including 6 children

Authorities say the fire began at 89 Overlook Place and spread to 87 Overlook Place. However, firefighters were able to prevent it from overtaking both buildings.

Ben Nandy

Apr 28, 2024, 3:11 PM

Updated 28 days ago

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A fire in Newburgh Sunday morning left 18 people, including six children, displaced.
Authorities say the fire began at 89 Overlook Place and spread to 87 Overlook Place.
Newburgh firefighters told News 12 that recent staffing changes have compromised safety and response times.
The damage from Saturday afternoon's fire was mostly confined to one multifamily home, though the fire grew quickly, jumping to the building next door.
"I came out, went to Home Depot, came back and saw the whole thing," neighbor Hansel Tulloch said.
Firefighters said it was pure luck that they had enough staff Saturday to immediately send two engines to attack the fire from two sides, minimizing damage to the second building and preventing further displacements.
Usually, because of staffing changes instituted by city administrators to save money, they can only initially send one engine at first and wait for another to follow a few minutes later.
The next engine may come from the other side of the city once additional staff are called in, or from a nearby department called for mutual aid.
Firefighters said that because the homes are so close together – much like they are throughout Newburgh – the fire could have been comparable to recent multihome fires covered by News 12 without the proper resources.
On Easter Sunday, a fire at a vacant home on Lutheran Street spread to five other buildings and displaced 33 people.
One week later, a fire on Carter Street enveloped two buildings, displacing about 20.
Firefighters said they could only send immediately send one engine to those fires, and both became out of control by the time the second engine arrived.
"I didn't know it was that critical," Tulloch said, "that a two-minute delay could destroy a couple more buildings."
Newburgh Firefighters' union president Dany Camacho said he hopes Saturday's "close call" will demonstrate to city leaders a need to add staff back to each shift.
"At the end of the day, it's about safety for our citizens and it's about safety for us," Camacho said. "We need the people here, the physical bodies here, everyday on staff to help everyone out."
News 12 is awaiting a response from city administrators to the firefighters' union's request to return to former, higher staffing levels.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Red Cross is offering temporary housing and supplies to the displaced families.


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