Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Missing Person Search Concludes with Indian Lake House Fire, Rescue, Arson & Burglary Charges

forest ranger reportTown of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
Search Turns to House Fire and Rescue:
 On Oct 31 at 9:40 p.m., New York State Police (NYSP) requested Forest Ranger assistance in locating a subject originally reported as an overdue hunter. The family of the 25-year-old from Hudson had reported the individual missing and indicated he might be despondent and suicidal. Ranger Lieutenant Kerr and Rangers Miller, Nally, and Scott responded to the Blue Mountain trailhead where NYSP found the subject’s car. Rangers searched the Blue Mountain and Tirrell Pond areas through the night.

At 2:50 p.m. the following day, a passerby alerted Rangers to a house fire approximately one-half mile away from their command post. Rangers and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputies pushed through the door and found the subject of the search unconscious on the floor.

Lt. Kerr, Ranger Quinn, and Deputy O’Brien pulled the subject to safety. Rangers Geesler, Scott, and Temple provided medical treatment until EMS arrived and transported him to the hospital. Rangers were also able to move the homeowner’s vehicle away from the burning house. The homeowner was not home at the time of the fire and the house is a total loss. The subject faces multiple charges including arson and burglary. An interview with Ranger Quinn about the incident can be downloaded on DEC’s website.


Subject pulled from burning house. DEC photo.

Village of Saranac Lake
Essex County
 On Nov. 2, Forest Ranger Lieutenant Burns was promoted to Captain of Region 5 North, covering Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and northern Hamilton counties. The occasion was marked by a pinning ceremony with DEC Commissioner Seggos. Captain Burns began working for DEC as an Assistant Forest Ranger in the High Peaks Wilderness area in 1988. From 1989 to 1999, Burns worked in DEC Operations as a backcountry caretaker at the Lake Colden Outpost. After graduating from the academy in 1999, Ranger Burns was assigned to Long Island. He later worked in Columbia County and in 2002, returned to the High Peaks Region. In 2020, Ranger Burns was promoted to High Peaks Zone Lieutenant.

Commissioner Seggos pins Captain Burns. DEC photo.


Town of St. Armand
Essex County
Public Outreach:
 On Nov. 2, Forest Ranger Lieutenant M. LaPierre participated in a presentation with New York State Police Trooper Thornhill and K9 Stanley at Bloomingdale Elementary School. Lieutenant M. LaPierre discussed hiking and camping safety with the fifth graders, before hiding in the woods to help demonstrate K9 Stanley’s abilities. K9 Stanley used Lt. M. Lapierre’s scent to track her into the woods. This is another example of how Forest Rangers and New York State Police work well together.


Lt. M. LaPierre, Trooper Thornhill, and K9 Stanley at Bloomingdale Elementary School. DEC photo.

Trooper Thornhill and K9 Stanley. DEC photo.

Lt. M. LaPierre at Bloomingdale Elementary School. DEC photo.

Town of Johnsburg
Warren County
Gondola Training:
 On Nov. 3, seven Forest Rangers participated in gondola training on Gore Mountain. Each year, Rangers and Gore Mountain staff train for gondola rescues in preparation for the ski season. Once they climb into the gondola, Rangers take each stranded skier and belay them to the ground. After the person is safe, skis are sent down so the subjects can ski to the bottom of the mountain.

Gondola training. DEC photo.

Gondola training. DEC photo.


Town of Saranac
Clinton County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Nov. 3 at 10:53 p.m., Forest Ranger Russell responded with New York State Police (NYSP) in the search for an overdue hunter. The 57-year-old from Dannemora was known to hunt on State land in the town of Saranac. At 12:12 a.m., NYSP located the subject approximately one mile into the woods. The subject had a dislocated hip. Ranger Russell helped transport the subject to Saranac EMS. Resources were clear at 1:46 a.m.


Town of Harrietstown
Franklin County
Ground Fire:
 On Nov. 5 at 2 p.m., Forest Rangers responded to a ground fire on the shore of Lake Colby in Saranac Lake Wild Forest. Rangers put out the fire, which was caused by burning at an illegal campsite. The investigation is ongoing.

Saranac Lake Wild Forest fire. DEC photo.


Town of Lake George
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Nov. 5 at 5:52 p.m., Forest Ranger Donegan responded to a 911 call from two subjects hiking down Prospect Mountain. The hikers were fatigued and concerned about hiking down in the dark, because they didn’t have any light sources. At 7:15 p.m., Ranger Donegan located the subjects and assisted them to the trailhead. Hikers are reminded that after turning the clocks back last weekend, it gets darker earlier. Hikers should always have flashlights or headlamps, even if they do not plan to hike at night.

Town of Bolton
Warren County
Wilderness Search:
 On Nov. 5 at 6:15 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance in the search for two subjects hiking the Tongue Mountain Range. While hiking down the first peak, the hikers from Clifton Park couldn’t continue due to darkness. The pair did not have lights and their cellphone batteries were dying. Rangers Donegan and Quinn responded to Montcalm Point via boat and then searched for the subjects on foot. At 8:38 p.m., Rangers found the subjects, brought the hikers to the boat, and transported them back to the Clay Meadows trailhead parking area. Resources were clear at 10:15 p.m. Hikers are reminded that after turning the clocks back last weekend, it gets darker earlier. Hikers should always have flashlights or headlamps, even if they do not plan to hike at night.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NYAdirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it’s for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

5 Responses

  1. Lyn says:

    I am curious about missing persons search protocol. I live near this home, I saw the suspect walking down my road very slowly, 3 hours before the fire was spotted. If I’d known there was a search on I would have alerted the authorities. To my knowledge no one in my neighborhood was alerted to be on the watch for a possible suicidal hunter that later turned arsonist. Is it best practice to keep a search a secret? Are all searches kept secret? If our neighborhood had been on alert would this home still be standing and a beloved cat still alive?

  2. Charlie Stehlin says:

    I know this house! I’ve seen it ample amounts of times, but just cannot place exactly where it is in Blue Mountain Lake. How sad! That some family lost their home and their especially their cat! What you say has value Lyn. One wonders if this event had taken shape in a neighborhood where there are millionaire homes, would the protocol have been the same! At the same time, who would have ever guessed it would come to this? Surely not those rangers and those deputies!

  3. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Mental health crisis! Look at all of the money put into the recent elections! Wouldn’t that be something if the rich would put their money towards mental health, or any program which benefits the less fortunate, the impoverished, victims of abuse, animal rescue organizations…. All of the money that just went into this past election cycle. Surely hundreds of millions! To think all of the good that money could have done towards helping others, towards making the world a better place! Instead it went to erecting a few already rich others to pedestals. It went to benefit a few favorite candidates so that when those candidates win…..favors are then dispersed by way of crookedness. So much for democracy hey? The above story has many dimensions, much of what will never be talked about.

    • Bill Keller says:

      $2.14 billion for the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) for 2022. $16.7 billion on this last election cycle. We know where the priorities are. Just look at the abuse some “leaders” dish out on the disabled, doesn’t surprise me at all.

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