Tonawanda News

The Town

October 9, 2013

Town incident eerily similar to Webster tragedy

Fire call brings back memories of NY tragedy

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — When the 911 call came in of a house fire and possible shots fired, responding fire crews could not help but think back to another tragedy last year that claimed the lives of two of their firefighter brothers.

Crews from Brighton, Sheridan-Park and Ellwood fire departments responded to the incident at 163 Fries Road in the Town of Tonawanda Monday where a man allegedly set fire to his house after reports of gunfire were heard.

When the fire crews arrived on scene, Town of Tonawanda Police Chief Anthony J. Palombo gave the order for them to stand down because of the report of shots fired and the possibility the man was still inside with a weapon, according to Sheridan-Park Chief James Chatham.

Police have identified the home’s owner, Joseph Hollywood, 60, as the person who fired the shots. According to police, Hollywood had threatened a woman at the house with a gun. The unidentified woman called 911 and fled the home.

Hollywood, 60, died in his basement from smoke inhalation, alongside his long gun and oxygen tank, an autopsy revealed Tuesday. The incident led to a tense standoff in the normally quiet residential area. It prompted nearby schools to go on lockdown.

As it turns out, the precautions taken were prudent.

The findings have provided vindication for police officers and first responders, who didn’t approach the burning Fries Road home in fear that Hollywood was inside, armed and ready to attack anyone who approached him. 

“Investigators believe he was positioned where he was so that he could engage any police that came in looking for him,” a statement from police Lt. Nick Bado reads. 

Chatham was not on-site Monday during the incident but said he was glad that the police chief’s first concern was his firefighters.

Text Only
The Town
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
NDN Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US