Vietnam veteran loses home and possessions to fire

Firefighters from Cheektowaga, Lancaster, and West Seneca assist Doyle Hose at a house fire on Cayuga Creek Road. (Contributed)
Firefighters from Cheektowaga, Lancaster, and West Seneca assist Doyle Hose at a house fire on Cayuga Creek Road. (Contributed)

CHEEKTOWAGA – A Vietnam veteran who served in the Marine Corps is homeless and has lost all of his possessions after a fire tore through his Cayuga Creek Road home Thursday afternoon.

The fire broke out inside the bedroom of a ranch style home on the 600 block of Cayuga Creek Road around 3 pm in the Doyle Fire District.  Firefighters found fire blowing from three different sides of the house when they arrived.

Jason Stoll, the 1st Assistant Chief of the Doyle Hose Company No. 2 was in command of the fire.

“From what I was told, the occupant was in his kitchen and he thought he heard popping noises and he thought he left the light on in his bedroom which is off the kitchen in the back,” Mr. Stoll said.  “When he opened the door he saw that his room was on fire.”

He tells Cheektowaga Chronicle that it was unclear if the occupant closed the bedroom door before he escaped the burning house with his dog.  Mr. Stoll says it is important to close the door to a room on fire.

“Number one it contains the fire, and number two, you’re not feeding it oxygen so if self-ventilates, which it apparently did when it was blowing through the windows.  Once it does that it just gives the fire enough oxygen to just start spread throughout the house rapidly,”  he said.  “By the time we got on location, the fire was already going, so if he didn’t shut the door then it gave it room to spread quickly.”

Doyle firefighters were assisted at the scene by Bellevue, Sloan, Forks, Winchester, and Twin District firefighters.

“We had two lines, one from Sloan and one from our truck go interior and that’s when they came upon a couple holes in the floor towards the back,” Mr. Stoll said.

All the firefighters on scene were made aware of the holes by Mr. Stoll and the fire was extinguished within an hour without any injuries to firefighters.

Cheektowaga Police say the cause of the fire is currently listed as undetermined.

The resident spoke to members of the Red Cross but later found shelter with family and friends.

Bellevue firefighter Bob Seltz wrote on Facebook that the occupant is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Marine Corps.  Mr. Seltz created a fundraiser page through Facebook where community members can donate to help rebuild the man’s life.

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