One killed in house fire in Genesee County

TOWN OF BYRON, N.Y. (WIVB) — A house in Byron nearly burned to the ground after a devastating fire killed one man and left his wife in critical condition in an intensive care unit.

The Byron Volunteer Fire Department responded to the emergency call just after 2:00 a.m. Friday. When they arrived flames were shooting through the roof. It took them nearly an hour to put out the fire that took over the home owned by Norine Leaton, 84, and her husband.

Courtesy: Billie Owens,
Courtesy: Billie Owens,

The fire chief told News 4 that the fire was especially challenging because the home is in a rural area without fire hydrants nearby so they ran out of water a few times while fighting the fire.

Byron is a small town; a lot of the volunteer fire fighters knew the couple who lived in the home, but as much as they wanted to get both people out alive, they couldn’t put their own lives in danger.

Byron Fire Chief Charles Durkee said, “Our pumper pulled up, we did an interior attack, [our] guys moved into a wall of smoke. We found the female and brought her out. She was resuscitated by Mercy, taken to UUMC. She’s alive and talking. There was another male, there was a fatality. Her husband was back in by the dining room area. We couldn’t get in because we had power lines drop, that cut our attacks off, and we couldn’t vent in the roof. There was nothing but frozen ice on the roof. So we couldn’t get guys on the roof, we had water problems, the hydrants are miles down the road.”

Some grandchildren of the couple were at the scene Friday morning but they didn’t want to speak on camera.

Nine different fire companies responded to the fire, which is still under investigation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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