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
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands