CHEEKTOWAGA – A two-story vacant colonial house deemed unsafe by Cheektowaga officials burned to the ground overnight Friday.
Firefighters from across the town responded to 240 Oehman Boulevard in the Cleveland Hill Fire District around 3:30 am.
The home was fully involved when firefighters arrived which forced them to fight the fire from the outside.
Marion Dupuis has lived next door to the vacant home for around a year.
“I’m very thankful that the fire department got here as quickly as they did and for my neighbors for getting me up,” said Ms. Dupuis.
The flames did not impact her house, but as she and a friend were evacuating her two cats, her indoor ragdoll mix ran away. Blue-e was later found safe and sound.
The fire was burning long before firefighters arrived at the scene. Parts of the structure was collapsing in onto itself as firefighters started to put water on the fire according to a fire official at the scene. Just a pile of burning wood remained an hour after fire crews arrived.
Cheektowaga’s Emergency Manager Earl Loder requested a high lift from the highway department to help firefighters move the rubble to extinguish the fire fully.
The house was accepting offers between $5,999 and $9,999, and according to a Zillow listing sustained a water main break on the first floor. It was, “considered unsafe by Town of Cheektowaga and seller’s insurance company,” the listing said.
Town property records show that the home was last sold on July 26, 2016, and the taxes are current.
A neighbor who did not want to be identified said, “It’s convenient that earlier in the evening the owners of the vacant property were there trying to pick up items that have been there for years that they haven’t touched.”
The Cheektowaga Police was seen interviewing neighbors during fire operations.
Ms. Dupuis hopes that she will find her cat and that the property is remediated quickly.
“I have asthma, and the smoke is going to create a real health issue for me, and I don’t know how long this will take to get cleaned up, and I’m hoping that the town steps up and gets it done quickly.”
No one was reported hurt at the time of publication early Friday morning.