Two firefighters hurt, 6 students OK as Potsdam house gutted by fire
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 3:17 pm

POTSDAM -- Two firefighters were hurt but six students who lived in the house got out as the structure on Lawrence Avenue in Potsdam was gutted by fire early today.

The house at 29 Lawrence Ave., owned by Mark and Laurie Murphy of Madrid, caught fire sometime before midnight due to what investigators are calling "improperly discarded smoking materials on front porch, setting a couch on fire."

The two firefighters, not identified in the county Emergency Services report, were treated for minor injuries.

Workers were boarding up the extensively damaged house this morning.

Darwin Clemons, who lives in a small house behind the main house, said he was awakened at about midnight by students who escaped the smoke and flames and wanted to call the fire department.

Clemons said the students told him everyone got out safely, some by staying low to the floor to avoid the smoke.

The students told Clemons some of the students intended to try to douse the fire with fire extinguishers, but that the heat and smoke were too strong.

Potsdam, Hannawa Falls and West Stockholm Fire Departments were on the scene, backed up by West Stockholm on standby.

Fire officials say the Potsdam volunteers got the call at 11:52 p.m. and were on their way two minutes later. They were back in service at 11 a.m. today.

A sidewalk leading to the house from the road has "1906" inscribed in it.