Tonawanda News

November 3, 2012

James Street home reported ablaze Friday

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — staff reports

A single-family home at 23 James St. in the City of Tonawanda caught fire early Friday evening, sending one resident to the hospital for observation. 

City Fire Capt. Robert Hassett said the injuries were not life threatening, but could not by law say exactly how the man was injured.

The call came around 5:30 p.m. of smoke and flames, which were eventually extinguished in an effort involving city, North Tonawanda, town, Grand Island and Sheridan Park equipment and personel. The structure was severely damaged in the blaze.

The structure was deemed a total loss with estimates of $55,000 to the house and $30,000 to its contents.

Crews remained at the scene until at least 9 p.m. ensuring no hot spots flared up in the home, in which flames erupted on each floor.

“We had water on the fire right away but there was fire on multiple floors, on the first and second floor an heavy fire in the attic as well,” he said.

The home was built using a “balloon construction” style in which each floor does not extend all the way to the exterior wall, leaving a gap for fire to spread upward. Hassett indicated that is one reason the blaze spread so quickly.

One firefighter experienced a minor electric shock, he said.

Loose power lines fell onto one of the department’s pumper trucks early in the operation, requiring National Grid workers to respond. 

No cause has been determined, and fire investigators remained at the scene late into the night.