GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – A quick and intense fire in Grand Island claimed the life of an 82 year-old woman.
Fire crews rushed to the Grant Court Apartments on Baseline Road after the fire ignited around 9 p.m Saturday.
“Town police made an effort to get inside to rescue the victim. They were driven back by immense heat and smoke. Our first line crew went in found the victim and we were able to bring her out,” said Chief Matt Osinki of the Grand Island Fire Company. “She perished in the fire.”
Fire crews were able to keep the blaze contained in the basement apartment. Five other units in the complex have smoke and water damage.
Ernest Bogdan lives in the complex and said, “It’s a travesty,” he said. “Somebody lost their life.”
After an initial investigation, Grand Island fire investigators said the blaze likely started as a result of careless smoking.
They explained that an oxygen tank in the apartment created a more intense fire that made problems for firefighters. One sustained a minor ankle injury.
Eight people were displaced from their homes. The Red Cross has been assisting them.
Even though the fire caused $200,000 in damages, many agree that it does not compare to the loss of a fellow neighbor.
“Anytime there’s a fire in your community it’s a hard thing when somebody perishes in that fire. It’s definitely difficult to deal with,” said Osinki.