An overnight fire on the city's west side left four people dead and five others hospitalized. It happened in a multi family home on Grape Street around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. YNN's Sheba Clarke has more on what happened.
An overnight fire on the city's west side left four people dead and five others hospitalized. It happened in a multi family home on Grape Street around 1 a.m. Saturday morning.
The Rochester fire and police departments have been working the scene all morning. When they were first called to the scene, they found a pile of burning clothes out front. As they surveyed the structure, they noticed a fire quickly spreading.
"I was scared. I knew what house it was it was a lot of my friends and family were in there and stuff and I was scared by the time I got out here the police and fire department were already out here," said William Morath, neighbor.
Eight people were inside the multi-family home at 80 Grape Street when firefighters were called to the scene for a rubbish fire.
After extinguishing the fire, investigators knocked on the doors and tried to talk to people inside the home, but no one responded. As they checked the house they noticed the back of the home was on fire.
"The fire quickly, very quickly, escalated to the whole first floor being heavily involved in fire. The initial crew that was here made entry into the building, rescued a woman and an infant from the first floor apartment. In the short time it took to make that rescue, the fire flashed over the whole first floor, extended quickly into the second floor," said Rochester Fire Chief John Caufield.
Caufield says the fire spread so quickly that firefighters were not able to get inside immediately to search for victims.
"But the fire just traveled. In my nearly 30 years of experience here, with these officers and firefighters here, the fire spread on this here was far out of our normal routine fire," said Chief Caufield.
Once they were able to get inside they found four young people dead on the second floor in two separate rooms.
"I don't know the ages. They all appear to be children. One appears to be probably under 10-years-old, the others probably early teens is my best guess. The medical examiner will help us with that as well as the investigation, we'll find out names and ages and those kinds of things," said Chief Caufield.
Five others were taken to the hospital and treated for burns, including a woman and infant.
Caufield says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"Every fatality is very difficult. Children are particularly trying for our firefighters. Most of our firefighters are parents and I think it's natural that when you're faced with this kind of thing you think about your own family and what if,” said Caufield.
Counseling will be arranged for the firefighters at the scene.