Three Dead in Rennselaer Fire

It was a very tough weekend for the city of Rensselaer.  

Three people, a mother, grandmother, and 8-year-old boy were killed in a two-alarm fire in the 900 block of Mann Ave. on Sunday morning.  The house was said to be gutted by the time firefighters got there.  

The victims have been identified as Safia Alblakhi, 68, Monzalah Alshami, 41, and her son, Aymen Alshami, 8.  A sister, Rafa Alshami, 16, is said to be in critical condition at the Clark Treatment Center Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, while the oldest son, Motassam Alshami, was able to escape with only minor injuries.  He was treated at Albany Med.

"We were fighting the fire on two different floors," said Rensselaer's Assistant Fire Chief, Jay Corcoran. "There were multiple rooms, and it was time-consuming."

A vigil was held last night in front of the shell of the house.  

"We always saw the kids out playing basketball," said neighbor Mark Pratt. "They used to have a hoop right on the corner, and whenever the weather was halfway decent, they used to be out there shooting baskets and having fun."

"They were all so sweet," said another neighbor, Monica Johnson.  "We always saw them together.  They were really kind."

Rensselaer schools were delayed for one hour this morning, in order to allow teachers and staff to spend time with grief counselors, who were then available to talk to students.

photo:  Getty Images

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