The two-alarm blaze broke out at a previously condemned two-story home on the corner of Sanford Boulevard South 7th Avenue around 11:30 a.m.
Patrick Sanders, who lives alone next door, watched his whole world go up in flames.
"Everything," he said. "Everything is just gone. I don't know what I am going to do tonight. I don't have no place to stay."
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Sanders said he smelled gas but thought nothing of it, then he saw neighbors and police and he realized something was wrong.
"And I see the flames jumping from the second floor over to the house right there, and I was living in that house," he said. "And the next thing you know, everything was up in flames."
Firefighters from New Rochelle, Pelham and Yonkers worked alongside Mount Vernon's bravest as they battled a smoky and persistent fire that spread to some hard to reach areas.
"Because the building had been previously condemned by our buildings department, we received reports of issues with the floor and ceiling," Mount Vernon fire Chief Kim Odindo said. "So these things are already compromised, things that we needed to gain access and entry into the building."
There is no preliminary indication as what specifically sparked the fire, but investigators say there's a good chance vagrants got inside the unoccupied home to keep warm on a rather cold night.
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No injuries were reported.
The investigation is active and ongoing.
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