Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 3, 2013

SMOKY INFERNO

Fire tears through Cambria house

BY JOHN J. HOPKINS
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — CAMBRIA — Firefighters from more than a half dozen fire districts needed about two hours Friday afternoon to extinguish a fire that ripped through a home at 3983 Saunders Settlement Road.

Cambria Fire Chief Shawn McIntyre said there were heavy smoke and fire conditions upon his department's arrival to the blaze.

Firefighters entered the L-shaped structure and were able to save an apartment on the northeast side. However, the west and north (rear) side of the building incurred heavy fire damage.

About half an hour after their arrival, the fire engines' sirens began to wail, a signal that firefighters should evacuate the building.

"We had everyone evacuate," McIntyre explained, "part of the roof was beginning to collapse. Once we deemed it was safe, we resumed internal firefighting operations."

The blaze was declared under control around 4 p.m., but firefighters remained on the scene until around 7 p.m.

No injuries were reported and McIntyre said he believed there was no one home when the fire began.

Crews from Tri-Community and Rural-Metro ambulance services stood by to assist firefighters with any fatigue issues.

McIntyre said it's difficult for several volunteers to respond to fire calls in the middle of the afternoon, which necessitated the call for firefighters from several neighboring districts to respond.

Assisting at the scene were firefighters from the Pekin, Wendelville, Shawnee, Sanborn and Adams fire districts. Firefighters from the Niagara Falls air base also helped at the scene, and a crew from Wrights Corners stood by. McIntyre estimated there were 50 firefighters on site.

"It was a very good effort by all involved," McIntyre said. "It was a good save on the apartment and on the front of the house. They did their best."

Niagara County emergency dispatchers fielded several phone calls about the fire, which was reported at 1:57 p.m.

Among those who tried calling was Dave Kubiniec, who owns his own plumbing business next door to the house.

"I saw smoke coming from the roof and I called 911 as I pulled into the driveway," Kubiniec told the US&J. "By the time I got through I could see flames were starting to show."

Kubiniec said several passersby pulled up, and some went to the house and knocked on the door to alert anyone who may have been inside; others were on their phones, he presumes to also call 911.

Smoke from the fire could be seen from the western city limit of Lockport, about 5.5 miles away.

Saunders Settlement Road was closed for several hours to accommodate firefighters. The road reopened at 7:07 p.m.

Firefighters from South Wilson manned Cambria's fire hall and St. Johnsburg firefighters were on standby status during the duration of firefighting efforts.