CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Blue and yellow tarps surround a home on Furlong Road, in Cheektowaga where an early morning fire took the lives of two people inside.
The victims have not been identified. Autopsies will be performed Wednesday and dental records will be used to identify the victims. Neighbors tell News 4 an unmarried couple in their 60s lived in the home but it is unclear if they are the victims.
Cleveland Hill Fire Chief Joe Lewis says firefighters had to work from the outside in.
Lewis said, “We could see from the front door that the first floor had collapsed. It was just too dangerous to enter so we had lines all over trying to hit it from the outside to knock it down enough so we could see to try to make entry.”
Firefighters climbed ladders to access the roof, where they cut holes to create vents as smoke billowed from the home.
Lewis said, “With it being a brick structure it holds the heat in, so the only place to vent is through the floors and out the roof.”
Once crews got things under control, you could see the extent of the destruction. Windows were shattered and walls were reduced to wooden studs.
Lewis said, “The fire load was immense, so it took a while to get it under control enough that we were able to safely send firefighters in to get to the rest of the fire.”
One body was found near the front door of the home. The second body was found in a back room. Officials say both bodies were badly burned, making it tough to identify the remains.
Tuesday afternoon, police said the home could implode at any time. They say the home is unsafe because beams and floor joints are missing.
Fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire. It does not appear the fire has impacted any of the surrounding homes.