Firefighters rescued a 73-year-old woman from her burning home at 313 Sixth Ave. in Pelham this afternoon.
Bessie Mae Faulkner, who lives with her husband, was home alone when the blaze began at around noon. The first three firefighters on the scene entered the home, found Faulkner in a hallway and led her to safety. She was uninjured.
Pelham Fire Chief William Stone said it was fortunate no one else was home at the time, calling the house a sort of “Collyer’s mansion,” referring to the brothers whose Harlem brownstone was overtaken by books, newspapers, furniture and numerous other items they collected.
"Since the fact that it is a Collyer’s mansion with all of the goods and stuff impeding the progress, it hindered our search for subsequent victims, and thank God there wasn't," Stone said.
Firefighters removed several boxes and other items from the home and put them on the front lawn.
Stone said the fire started in the basement of the home and extended up into the first floor. The cause is still under investigation.
Stone called the fire “labor intensive” and 14 other fire department units provided aid on the scene, including Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, Pelham Manor, Yonkers, Greenville, Eastchester and the Larchmont Cascade Unit.
Stone said this fire is a reminder to people keep exits in their homes clear in case of an emergency.
"Fires are a sorry situation, but a life was saved,” he said. “It is very important for homeowners to use fire prevention and not overload their means of egress. All of the firefighters from the various departments did a great job effectively stopping the fire.”