CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – Firefighters from multiple districts across the town assisted U-Crest firefighters in fighting back flames in a Genesee Street apartment around 8:15 Tuesday morning.
As the first units arrived, “they had fire blowing out of the living room windows in the apartment which spread to the front and back of the apartment,” said U-Crest Fire Chief Byan Chapman.
Two people were inside the apartment at the time, and they got out safely.
One dog died in the fire along with three cats. Two other cats are still missing.
Jake Lekopites was inside the building at the time. He says the smell of smoke woke him up, “we woke up and went downstairs and the house was on fire.”
Nicholas Woods was driving by the scene when he sprung into action, helping out anyone who was nearby. “I was literally driving down Meadow and I saw the house had a ton of smoke coming from it. I called in the emergency and knocked on all the nearby neighbor’s houses to let them know, then I helped push a car from out of the garage.”
The cause is still under investigation, but Mr. Lekopites has a theory as to what may have started the blaze. “We’re Wiccan, I think one of the candle divination – that’s how you talk to your ancestors – one of the candles may have burnt out or fell over.”
A large turnout of fire crews from across the town responded to the scene at 3339 Genesee Street to assist U-Crest because many of the volunteer firefighters work during the day.
“We got our ladder trucks here quick, we got the engines here quick, we got our water supply in three different directions hooked up. The guys made a great interior attack to put the fire out before it spread even more,” added Mr. Chapman.
The building’s first floor contained storage and a vacant apartment according to Mr. Chapman.
The Red Cross was called to the scene to help out the residents.
Genesee Street was shut down until 10:20 am between Union Road and Beach Road.