GRAND ISLAND, NY – An intense apartment fire on Grand Island Saturday night turned deadly as first responders were unable to reach an 82-year-old woman trapped inside. She died at the scene.
Fire Chief Matt Osinzki of the Grand Island Fire Company said that firefighters encountered heavy smoke and flames pouring out of the front of the building from a basement apartment when they arrived. A Grand Island police officer and an Erie County sheriff's deputy who tried to rescue the woman had already been turned back by the heat and the smoke.
The fire happened at the Grant Court Apartment complex at 2462 Baseline Road, across from Sidway Elementary School. It was reported just before 9 p.m.
Crews had the fire under control in about 20 minutes, thanks to what the fire chief called "an aggressive interior attack" on the fire, but, unfortunately, it was too late for the victim.
Eight other tenants escaped from the burning building and were being assisted by the Red Cross.
Investigators believe the fire was caused by careless smoking and that in-home oxygen use contributed to its intensity.
Damage was estimated at $195,000 to the building and its contents. One Grand Island firefighter hurt his ankle but his injury did not appear to be serious. The victim's name has not been released at this time.
Kevin Oliphant, a WGRZ viewer, was in the neighborhood when the fire broke out. He sent us this video which shows just how fierce the flames were when the fire first broke out.