Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 13, 2012

House destroyed by fire

Staff Reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

LOCKPORT — A Newfane couple is homeless after fire tore through their Rathke Heights home early Thursday afternoon.

Wrights Corners volunteer firefighters found the house fully involved in fire upon their arrival to the house, situated on a dead-end street near the Lockport-Olcott Road Tops supermarket.

Smoke could be seen for miles and nearby traffic slowed as firefighters battled the blaze from the outside of the structure.

Niagara County 911 dispatchers received a call of a possible house fire at 12:48 p.m. Kayla Williams, who lives next door, said she was awakened by a passerby who saw smoke.

"Someone was pounding on my front door," Williams said, "saying there's a fire and to call 911. I called right away."

At the time, Williams said smoke was coming out of a window on the northwest side of the house. Flames soon became visible.

Soon, the fire took off.

"It went real quick," said Williams.

The home at 3971 Rathke Heights is owned by Donna and Duane Goff.

According to a report from the Niagara County Sheriff's Department, Donna Goff arrived on scene shortly after the fire began and told patrol that she left the home approximately one hour earlier.

Donna advised that there were not any wood stoves or fireplaces inside the residence.

A potentially dangerous situation was averted by the quick actions of Doug Thompson and a passerby.

Thompson, who owns a State Farm insurance agency nearby, and the passerby removed a propane gas tank from a grill at the rear of the structure.

"We shut off the tank and pulled it away," Thompson said. "Two of us had to carry it away."

Thompson said he didn't know who the man was who helped him.

Thompson added he heard the fire report on his police scanner, and he grabbed a fire extinguisher.

"I saw right away that (the extinguisher) wasn't going to do the job,' he added. "The fire went real quick from there."

Donna Goff told patrol the residence was occupied by only her and her husband.

Extensive damage was done to the residence and Dickinson listed the residence as a total loss.

The Red Cross was contacted to assist the family.

Assisting at the scene were Miller Hose volunteer firefighters. National Grid also responded to the scene.

The cause of the fire is being probed by county fire investigators.