Firefighters battle flames at a Haller Avenue home on September 27th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Firefighters battle flames at a Haller Avenue home on September 27th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – Cheektowaga Police say careless cooking is to blame for an overnight fire on Haller Avenue in the Walden Fire District Thursday.

Rescue firefighters found heavy smoke and fire on the first floor of 65 Haller Avenue when they arrived around 3 am according to Rescue Hose Fire Chief John Tryjankowski.

“It was reported that everybody was out. We did a search and found that everybody was out.  There are some cats up on the second floor that didn’t make it,” said Mr. Tryjankowski.

The fire was extinguished within a half-hour.  Two people were able to escape the fire without any injuries.

Fire investigators from the Cheektowaga Police found that the fire was started after one of the two residents fell asleep and left the food unattended on the stove.

Rescue firefighters were assisted by Pine Hill, Cleveland Hill, Sloan, Forks, and U-Crest firefighters.  Two other departments – one from outside Cheektowaga – were alerted to provide Rescue a rapid intervention team but couldn’t muster enough volunteers to respond.

A rapid intervention team stands at the ready outside of the fire in case a firefighter inside declares a “mayday” call and needs to be rescued.   The lack of an available team Thursday morning is concerning to Mr. Tryjankowski.

“If I have a firefighter go down and I don’t have the people to go in and get them, that’s a big problem, and I’m sure that’s going to be addressed at the [townwide] chief’s meeting,” added Mr. Tryjankowski.

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