CONSTABLE — Fire ripped through a Constable home Tuesday morning, leaving a family of five homeless.
The owner, Joe Dupra, watched as thick smoke billowed high into the frigid air.
"I'm glad this didn't happen last night. I liked my house; I loved my house. But I'd rather have my family safe."
No one was at home when the blaze broke out shortly before 9 a.m.
Dupra, who is employed by North Star Industries, said he was getting his car fixed at a local garage when a scanner there went off.
"I heard it say my house was on fire. My boss gave me a ride out."
His wife was playing bingo at the Bingo Palace in Hogansburg and didn't know about the fire. Their three children, ages 14, 13 and 11, were in school.
The family lived in the nine-bedroom home for the past five years. It was insured.
The Dupras bought the house from Charlene and Bob Fennel. They saw smoke and came over from their Spencer Road home a short distance away.
They watched and reminisced as the flames claimed Mrs. Fennel's family home.
"I lived here. My parents bought the place in '78, and we lived here until we sold it to Joe," Mrs. Fennell said.
"It was a big home. We did a lot of work on it before we sold it," Mr. Fennell said. He pointed to a new section where he had added two bedrooms and a raised roof.
The Dupras will stay with family until they decide what they will do.
Constable Chief Lenny Barney said that while the cause of the fire is being investigated, it may have started around a woodstove in the living-room area.
Dupra had many cords of wood stored in the cellar, which added fuel to the fire.
Constable was assisted by Westville, Burke, Malone, Hitchinbrook and Brushton firefighters.