Lots of man power was needed at a fire in a Syracuse apartment building. Although it was knocked down in 15 minutes, the challenge was making sure every was out of the large building. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with residents who helped get their neighbors to safety.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Extra crews were called and at least 50 firefighters were on scene. They were needed because of the amount of people potentially inside of the apartment building. There are 30 apartments and everyone got out safely.
The scene at Ballantyne Apartments on Thursday evening is something neighbors never thought they would experience.
Christine Walker said, "I never knew smoke could get so dark, and so black so quick. That smoke turned so fast and I could hardly see."
Fire Chief Mark McLees said the fire started in a first floor apartment. The man who lives in it was able to get out before the fire quickly spread with the help of a good neighbor.
“I know there’s an old guy living there so I helped him get out. I went in there and he was in a daze and he was in a cloud of smoke so I pulled him out,” said Thomas Moore.
It took fire fighters about 15 minutes to put the fire out.
McLees said, "The fire did break through the windows, you can see it extended up the side of the building into the second floor apartment and even up to the third floor. Because of the size of the building and the number of occupants we went to a second alarm.”
Those extra crews were needed to put out the fire while making sure no one was trapped inside the 30 apartments. McLees said the fire was contained to a few apartments, but smoke spread and nearly a dozen people were rescued by ladder.
There were no serious injuries, but two people were treated for smoke inhalation.
The chief says the timing of the fire was in everyone’s favor.
“The only fortunate thing here is that it didn’t happen six, seven hours later when people were sleeping,” McLees added, “It would have been a whole different tragedy if it had later on when people were sleep, but it happened at 5 o’clock at night.”
The building is protected by fire walls so those people not directly impacted by the fire or the smoke will be allowed back into their homes. The cause and exact origin are still being investigated.