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25 RESCUED IN BLAZE ON DELAWARE AVE.; FIREFIGHTERS HELP 11 FLEE ON LADDERS; CARELESS SMOKING CITED AS CAUSE OF FIRE

Buffalo firefighters rescued 25 Delaware Avenue apartment dwellers, including 11 who had to flee down ladders from second-floor units, as careless smoking caused $200,000 damage Monday to a four-story luxury building, authorities said.

Two men were spotted hanging out second-story windows when the first fire crews arrived at 1165 Delaware Ave. shortly after 8:30 a.m. But ladders were quickly placed on the brick building, and they were rescued, said Fourth Battalion Chief Edward Craver.

Nine other men and women were helped down ladders from four second-story windows, and 14 others were escorted to safety from the smoke-filled building, Craver said.

None of the occupants was injured, but three firefighters suffered minor injuries and remained on duty.

Although the fire, which began in a second-floor living room, was confined to two apartments, heavy smoke forced the evacuation of about 60 people, Fire Department spokesmen said.

Two fire alarms were pulled after the fire was spotted about 8:30 a.m.

The building, at the corner of Delaware and West Ferry Street, is owned by Langden Properties of Rochester. Spokesmen for the company were unavailable for comment.

Residents at the scene also declined to comment. By early Monday afternoon, most residents had been allowed to return.

Red Cross disaster volunteers went to the scene to help occupants of the apartment house, and a family of four whose apartment was destroyed was given food and clothing and taken to a hotel for the night, said Deborah Williams, Red Cross spokeswoman.

Food and clothing also were provided for a couple displaced by the fire who moved to another apartment in the building, and a family of five was provided with clothing before they left to spend the night with friends, Ms. Williams said.

Throughout the day, representatives of Langden Properties were relocating tenants in the building to accommodate those whose apartments suffered smoke damage, Ms. Williams said.

Fire investigators said careless smoking started the fire in the living room of apartment 207. Flames started on furniture and spread through the ceiling and destroyed apartment 307.

Investigators listed $100,000 damage to the building and $100,000 to contents.

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