COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A Cohoes man has been charged after a major fire spread to several buildings in the city of Cohoes Thursday afternoon.
John Gomes, of Remsen Street, was charged with one count of Arson in the Fourth Degree and one count of Reckless Endangerment. Police believe the 51-year old intentionally set a fire in his backyard to do work, but the fire quickly spread due to strong winds.
Fire crews were called to Remsen Street around 2 p.m. Thursday. Cohoes Fire Chief Joseph Fahd said the fire quickly grew to three-alarms, and several fire departments sent mutual aid.
Approximately 100 firefighters were on scene to fight the fire.
Fahd said the wind was a major factor in fighting the blaze. A total of 17 to 20 buildings were affected, including some as far as three blocks away.
The fire chief sustained a minor burn to the face from an ember. Another firefighter was taken to the hospital with heat-related injuries.
Officials believe 15 to 25 people were displaced but are still working on an exact number.
Fahd said it was the biggest fire the city has ever had.
Gomes was arraigned late Thursday and sent to jail on $15,000 bail. He is scheduled to be back in court at 9 a.m. on December 5.