Niagara Gazette

Crime

April 12, 2014

Two dead after Lockport house fire

Niagara Gazette — A house fire took the lives of two Crosby Avenue residents early Saturday.

One male and one female resident of 60 Crosby Ave. died in the fire, which was called in at 12:23 a.m. The victims' names are being withheld until Niagara County Coroner Kenneth Lederhouse has notified next of kin.

According to Assistant Fire Chief Mike Seeloff, the fire was well in progress when firefighters arrived at the scene. A Lockport police officer who got there first had pulled the 63-year-old woman out of the house and was performing CPR on her, to no avail. With burns on her upper body and signs of smoke inhalation, it appears the woman was trying to flee the house when she was overcome by smoke, on-scene Assistant Fire Chief Matt Streckewald's report indicated.

Firefighters recovered the male victim's body from the living room/den area of the house. The fire appears to have originated in a couch, Streckewald's report said.

Firefighters extinguished the fire quickly after gaining entry through the front door and a vent cut into the roof. The initial damage estimate is $20,000, according to the report.

A neighbor of the victims was treated at the scene by firefighters, Seeloff said. Whether the neighbor suffered from smoke exposure or was simply upset isn't known.

Late Saturday morning, Seeloff was unable to recall the last time fatalities resulted from fire in the city. The losses are especially tragic in light of the fact that they could have been avoided, he said. Firefighters did not find any smoke detectors in the house.

"That's why there's always such a big push on smoke detectors. When you go to sleep, your senses go to sleep too," Seeloff said. "Smoke detectors play such a big part in getting people out early."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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