Tonawanda News

March 20, 2013

Boarding house fire contained

Staff reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Town of Tonawnada police had to remove a man from his burning apartment because he thought he could control the blaze himself, even after firefighters responded to a call at a boarding house in the town’s industrial sector Tuesday afternoon.

River Road Fire Co. 1st Assistant Chief Don Abbott said the man refused to leave his room despite heavy smoke showing from the building’s second floor windows when he arrived shortly after 5 p.m.

“The resident of that room thought he could handle the fire himself,” Abbott said. “Town of Tonawanda police arrived and removed him so we could do our job.”

Firefighters from all six Ken-Ton volunteer companies — Brighton, Sheridan Parkside, Kenilworth, Kenmore, Ellwood and River Road — in addition to units from the City of Tonawanda and Grand Island responded to the scene. They were able to contain the blaze to the room where it originated, Abbott said.

An official investigation into the cause has not been completed but initial reports indicated an over-heated space heater in the man’s bedroom was to blame. A neighbor who spotted the smoke called 911.

The two-story structure, located at 51 Riverdale Drive, housed eight units, five of which were occupied. In all, six adults, one child and a dog escaped without serious injury. Only the man living in the room where the fire started required treatment by paramedics for smoke inhalation. He was not hospitalized.

Abbott said a preliminary estimate found $8,000 in damage to the building. No estimate for damage to residents’ property was available. Three of the eight units sustained water and smoke damage and five windows were broken by firefighters battling the blaze.

Representatives from the Red Cross of Western New York responded to the scene and gave the residents vouchers for food, clothing and temporary housing while they’re displaced from their homes.