BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The owner of the home where Friday’s two-alarm fire on Dupont Street started calls it “devastating,” and told News 4 he wants justice.
“This is just crazy. I just don’t understand it,” Mario Ross said Saturday, standing across the street from what remains of his house – one brick wall.
Ross bought 84 Dupont St. in Buffalo’s foreclosure auction last October. He had just evicted his tenants as of May 1, but was giving them an extra day to move out.
At the time the fire started Friday, Ross was on his way over to pick up the keys.
“They told me they needed a little extra time, and I gave it to them, just trying to be courteous. Because I understand that people have financial issues, whatever. I was just trying to be courteous, and you see the outcome,” Ross explained.
“When I came here, all I saw was a blaze. I couldn’t even think. I’m kind of speechless right now. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t fathom it. I was just angry, ” said Ross.
He has his suspicions about how the fire started, but he doesn’t want to publicly point fingers until the Buffalo Fire marshals have the chance to complete their investigation.
“I just want justice to be served. I want whoever did this to be penalized to the fullest extent of the law,” Ross told News 4. “I’m not going to stop. The fire marshals aren’t going to stop.”
A construction worker by trade, Ross was pouring his own time, money and labor into renovating and bringing the house up to code. He and his fiancée were planning to move in and start the next part of their lives together.
Ross hoped to raise his children in the home one day. “This was going to be my future,” Ross said. “There’s a nice park across the street. I have family in the area.”
A day after the blaze, the reality of the loss is still overwhelming.
“It’s like, I try to do the right thing, just stay focused and try to keep my head above ground. But when you get stuff like this, it happens to you, what do you do?” Ross asked. “Who do you turn to?”
“I feel just like, at a total loss. Devastated,” said Ross. “But I know I have to stay strong. I can’t let this break me.”