Syracuse, New York Firefighters Battle Blaze

Syracuse - Four engine companies, two truck companies and the rescue company were needed to control an early morning blaze on Wednesday, November 2nd.

Police units on the scene prior to the fire department's arrival indicated smoke and flames showing from the rear. The structure appeared to be a large 2 1/2-story brick residence, but currently was used for a real estate office.

Heavy fire was encountered during the initial interior attack up the rear stairs. Within moments of initiating the aggressive attack, Firefighter Mike Valenti fell through an already weakened floor. Fortunately, he did not fall past his waist, and was quickly removed by fellow firefighters. He suffered second degree burns to his lower torso, none of which were life threatening.

District Chief Don Johnson immediately pulled all forces out of the building to regroup and pursue an exterior attack using master streams. The fire had substantial headway prior to the fire department's arrival, and spread through the balloon construction. The third floor attic rapidly became involved, with the roof partially failing within minutes of the start of the defensive attack.

Though the bulk of the fire was knocked down by the elevated streams, firefighters remained on the scene throughout the night conducting a slow, methodical and safe overhaul.