Electrical fire displaces 8 Peekskill families

Flames tore through a multi-family Peekskill home Monday, leaving 20 people out on the street on a bitterly cold day.

Fire officials said an electrical outlet fire started around 9 a.m. in an apartment at 660 Main St. The tenant tried to put out the fire, burning her hand in the process, but she's expected to be OK.

Peekskill, Lake Mohegan, Buchanan, Croton, Cortlandt, Verplank and Continental Village firefighters took about 20 minutes to extinguish the flames. According to officials, water froze on the ground, causing some firefighters to slip and fall.

Gary Zahn, 23, is among the eight families displaced by the fire. Zahn escaped with his wife, three small children and mother-in-law. He claims his smoke detector failed in the building, which was built in 1843.

"I was really concerned because if I was sleeping, it would have turned out a whole lot worse," Zahn said.

Landlord Ken Martin denies the claim that the smoke detector failed.

The Red Cross and Office of Emergency Management are assisting the families. There's no word on when they will be able to return.

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