Fri December 30, 2011
Suburban fires cause heavy damage, leave one man dead
The investigation continues into a fire that killed a man living in a residential motel in Clarence. The fire broke out shortly before 5:30pm Thursday.
Volunteer firefighters arriving on the scene found flames shooting from a front apartment of the Rock Garden Motel. Assistant Chief Jeffrey Schlabach said they were able to contain the fire.
"Things went fairly smoothly. Our crews did a good job," said Schlabach. "They did a good job knocking it down."
The body of the victim was removed from one of the units. He has not been identified. Five other residents escaped the flames and are receiving help from the American Red Cross.
Damage is estimated at $200,000.
It was the second fire in as many days on Main Street in the suburbs. On Wednesday night, fire ripped through a building about eight miles away in Snyder.
"It was a big old mess," said Erie County lawmaker Tom Loughran. "You don't expect to be abruptly out of business. "
Loughran's district office was one of the businesses affected by Wednesday night's fire. He also owns Loughran's bar and restaurant next two the building that burned. Loughran and patrons evacuated during the fire, but he says restaurant was not affected.
Loughran says it's a closely knit neighborhood and he knows everyone involved.
"There are niche businesses, such as a barber shop and a knitting shop," he said.
The building housed retail shops, offices and an apartment. Initially Yours -- a gift shop -- was heavily damaged. Firefighters believe that is where the fire may have started.
One firefighter reportedly suffered chest pains, but there were no injuries.
Damage is estimated at $1 million. The cause is under investigation.