This story has been updated.
DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- West Clinton firefighters spent several hours Wednesday battling an intense blaze on the second floor of a 4,000-square-foot, multi-family home in Staatsburg that destroyed half of the residence.
When firefighters arrived on scene around 11:30 a.m. at 84 Rhynders Road, one side of the home was already fully engulfed with flames shooting out of the roof and smoke billowing from the windows, said West Clinton Fire Chief Brian Dingee.
"Half of the multi-family home is fine and the other half is destroyed," Dingee said.
The home, set back about 1,500 feet from the roadway, made it difficult to stage to battle the fire, he added.
"We had to set up for the Pleasant Valley tower truck to have room to maneuver so we could reach the roof," he said. "We were working up 40-feet high."
The fire, started by a bathroom ceiling fan with an electrical short, moved quickly through the second floor and to the attic, Dingee said.
"Luckily someone was home and noticed the fire or the entire home could have been destroyed," he added. "This was a dangerous fire."
The department used a thermal image camera to help find hot spots in the attic and throughout the house: "They are expensive, but can save lives and find any hot spots," Dingee said.
All occupants were able to escape without injuries.
A pond on the property also helped firefighters battle the blaze by being able to siphon water from the pond to a fire truck by connecting six 10-foot hoses, Dingee said.
"In my 35-plus years as a firefighter this fire was in the top three as a textbook case of how a fire should be fought," Dingee added. "Everything fell into place and worked perfectly."
More than 40 firefighters from area departments helped battle the blaze.
They received assistant from East Clinton, Staatsburg, Rhinebeck, Hillside, and Dutchess County fire departments, LaGrange EMS and the New York State Police.
Late Wednesday evening the department was still cleaning up and regrouping their equipment from the day of firefighting.
"People think we fight the fire and it's done," Dingee laughed. "We have hours of work afterward, refilling tanks, rolling hoses, cleaning equipment and much more."
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