Delaware Avenue fire claims one life

May 1, 2014

Most of the city's available fire units were called to the Delaware Avenue fire Wednesday night.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

A Buffalo man died in a three-alarm fire at a Delaware Avenue apartment building Wednesday night. Buffalo Firefighters rescued the victim from his burning apartment, but he died a short time later at ECMC.

Most of the city's fire companies were called to the Commodore Apartments at Delaware and Auburn before 9 p.m.  The fire started on the fourth floor and spread to the fifth.

Buffalo Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said the building didn't have a standpipe system to carry water to the fire floor so hoses had to be dragged up the stairs into heavy smoke, requiring several fire fighters to keep fighting the blaze.

Whitfield said the victim was found in the bathroom of his apartment and carried to the street.

There was one gentleman we found in the apartment, 410, he did suffer burns. He is deceased at this time," said Whitfield.

"It was a team effort," said Whitfield.  "As you can see there are many, many companies here They worked together to effectuate the rescue. It was a large individual, very labor intensive to get him out of there. They did a great job getting him out.  about ten guys carried him out. Got him outside and worked on him

About 60 residents were forced out of the apartment building, though most were able to return later.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

60 to 65 residents were evacuated from the building.

Lynne Reinard  lives in an apartment just down the hall from the fire scene and says a loud fire alarm persuaded her to leave.

"I'm in 414 and I saw, as I opened my door, the smoke billowing out," said Reinard. "It was so smoky back there and I ran down the stairs and hoped and prayed, on the way down, that everyone got out safe and sound."

The scene much calmer Thursday morning following Wednesday night's three-alarm, fatal fire at the Commodore Apartment building on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Another resident had just moved in at 4:30 Wednesday afternoon on the third floor. The Red Cross was assisting displaced residents, but the fire department was working to return residents.

Other residents mentioned the alarm system told them of the fire

Fire marshals were on the scene last night, but no cause has been determined yet.

Commissioner Whitfield said it was "going to be an exhaustive investigation."

A short time later, Buffalo Firefighters had a second fire call to a home on Carl Street, sending many of the firefighters from the Delaware Avenue blaze to that fire.