Woman dead, boyfriend is person of interest after early morning fire

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – Buffalo police are investing a house fire on the city’s east side and the death of a 27-year-old woman, who was found deceased inside the burning home.

Fire crews responded to the fire on Manhattan Avenue just north of the 33 around 3:30 Thursday morning. Investigators said the fire started on the second floor, where the woman was found.

At least five people were able to escape the flames, including the woman’s seven-year-old daughter; the child suffered a burned heel and smoke inhalation, but was treated and released from the hospital.

Also inside the home were several exotic animals including ferrets, a turtle, and a snakes. Fire officials told News 4 one of the ferrets survived, as did the turtle.

A dog was also found inside the home, and was resuscitated by firefighters.

Fire investigators believe the fire was intentionally set. Buffalo Fire Chief Jim Otwell said flammable accelerates were found on scene.

“Lab samples were taken and in addition the county K9 team came in, made positive hits,” Otwell told News 4.

The 27-year-old victim’s boyfriend is a person of interested in this case. The 29-year-old man was severely burned in the fire and found in a nearby home’s backyard.

The victim’s boyfriend is currently at ECMC, under the watch of police.

“He’s in critical condition and he’s possibly in a medically induced coma,” said Capt. Jeff Rinaldo.

While the man is a person of interested, he is not yet in police custody.

An autopsy will be performed on the 27-year-old victim, who has not yet been identified.

Police told News 4 there are no obvious signs of the trauma on the woman’s body.

No weapon was recovered from the scene.

“It is a homicide investigation because our homicide detectives are the lead on it, so simply because we do a victim that is deceased. So at this point until circumstances change it is a homicide investigation,” said Capt. Rinaldo.

The fire caused $50,000 in damage.

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