Buffalo firefighters battle hours-long apartment fire

Channel 2's Jeff Preval reports from Buffalo's west side where a 36-unit apartment building caught fire early Saturday morning.

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Dozens of people are without a place to stay following an early-morning apartment building fire on the city's west side.  

Buffalo firefighters were called out to a fully-involved apartment fire at Lafayette Avenue and Barton Street shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday.

Crews battled the flames for hours.  Firefighters say the size and design of the building made it hard to get a handle on the fire.  Crews declared the fire under control seven hours after it started, though crews said they would likely be there for several more hours to contain hot spots.

"This type of building has a common cockloft in it which is a void space across the roof.  The fire spread through concealed spaces in there and went across 50 percent of the building.  We held it...most of the fire was on the third floor and confined to the third floor," said Buffalo Fire Division Chief Peter Kertzie.

Buffalo fire officials tell 2 on Your Side about 60 residents in all 36 apartment units have been displaced. Red Cross volunteers set up a warming shelter at St. John's Grace on Colonial Circle.  NFTA buses were also brought in for people to seek shelter immediately following the fire.

Fire crews battled bitter cold temperatures, wind, and icy conditions.  Temps were in the teens, and wind chills were in the single digits.

"It's freezing cold.  Tough conditions.  We had to keep moving the hoses around.  They are frozen.  They get iced into the street.  They [the firefighters] do it without complaints.  They move stuff around.  That's a lot of hours to put in in the freezing cold.  It was a tough fight, and they did a good job, did a great job," said Kertzie.  

There is no word of any injuries at this time.

Buffalo fire investigators are trying to figure out a cause.

 

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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