LAKE GEORGE - A two-story building housing three Canada Street businesses was heavily damaged by fire Aug. 19 - and while about 75 firefighters worked to control the smoldering blaze, a block of the busy village thoroughfare was shut down during the height of the summer tourist season.
Hundreds of spectators gathered to watch the firefighters work to quell the blaze. The building that burned houses Sweet N' Sweeter to the south, a tattoo shop, and Sandy Feet to the north.
Bystanders said one of the stores was open at the time of the fire, and customers exited when the fire broke out. Some said the fire spread from the rear of Sweet N' Sweeter, 149 Canada St.
Later, the owner of Sweet N' Sweeter Sam Irwin told Lake George Fire Chief Jim Barber an employee of his had dumped hot popcorn kernels into a trash receptacle, Barber said. On Aug. 24, Barber said the Warren County fire investigators had determined the fire had indeed begun in the kitchen trash container, and then to the walls and ceiling, and into the second story.
The smoldering blaze created thick smoke that engulfed the busy main street of the village, prompting authorities to close off the block to traffic from Mayard Center on the north to McGillis Street on the south, while taping off a section of the street to keep pedestrians back for more than an hour due to the heavy smoke.
Shortly after midnight, Warren County Fire Coordinator Brian LaFlure said there was extensive fire, smoke and water damage to all three businesses.
Lake George Fire Co. Auxiliary members passed out bottles of water to those emerging from the smoke-filled building, many wearing oxygen tanks and masks.
Two tower trucks were used to battle the blaze, with firefighters spraying water from atop a ladder platform and a hydraulic boom.