Rochester Fire Department weighs in on high rise fires: ‘Have an escape plan’

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — "Have an escape plan". That is one of the messages the Rochester Fire Department has for the community. In the last week we’ve seen deadly fires in Philadelphia, New York, and right here in Rochester.

"Whether you’re in a high rise or in your home or in an apartment, you need to know the best way out of a situation,” Lt. Jeffery Simpson said, with the Rochester Fire Department.

A high-rise fire in the Bronx over the weekend is the deadliest fire in New York City in over 30 years, killing 17. Another apartment fire in Philadelphia last week killed 12. An apartment fire inside Winton Gardens Towers last week on East Main Street killed one woman who was on the 10th floor.

"You can’t get out? Close your door and put a wet towel and put it along the bottom of the door, so the smoke can’t come in,” Simpson said.

If there is no other way for you to get out after you close your front door call 911.

"Let them know where you’re at what floor, what apartment, the fire department will make their way up and get you,” Simpson added.

Simpson says a lot of fires happen because of space heaters, or they start in the kitchen. Recently the department went out into the community to hand out and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

"All you have to do is call 311 the city of Rochester Fire Department will put them in the right place so you are as safe as possible,” Simpson said.

The Rochester Fire Department says they have annual trainings on how to fight these tall building fires. The department says there are over 100 high-rise buildings in the city, about 35 of them are residential.