Burned Thurston Road building a total loss

December 10, 2018 07:07 PM

Fire destroyed an apartment building at 440 Thurston Road on Monday, leaving the building a total loss that had to be demolished.

Fire ripped through the old building that housed 28 apartments. Only nine apartments were rented. The fire started around 8:30 a.m. waking people out of their sleep and sending some jumping off of fire escapes.


“Only thing I got is what I got on,” said Lonnie McDowell, who had lived there for seven years. 

 “I was sleeping and I heard the fire alarms. I opened the door and the hallway was full of smoke. I closed the door and jumped out the fire escape.”

Flames and heavy smoke could be seen from a distance as the stubborn fire quickly became a five-alarm blaze.

“You get a certain amount of companies on a first alarm fire. Two more companies go up to a second alarm and so on and so forth. So the more companies the more alarms,” said Amon Hudson, spokesperson for the Rochester Fire Department.

Fire firefighters were still putting out hotspots late into the early evening.

“One of the challenges with this building was the structure of the building itself and the amount of apartments...28 apartments....Trying to search those the best we could,” Hudson said.

Firefighters couldn’t save the building, which was managed by CEM Properties. Twelve people have been assisted by the Red Cross.

“This building is slated for demolition. It’s unsafe for firefighters. It’s unsafe for civilians. It’s not even structurally sound at this point,” Hudson told reporters.

As devastating as this may be for McDowell and the rest of the tenants, he’s counting his blessings.

“It’s lucky that everybody who lived in there got out safely,” he said.


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