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Fire causes $300,000 in damage to West Side homes

A raging fire destroyed one house and damaged two others Wednesday morning on Buffalo’s West Side, causing damage estimated at more than $300,000. No injuries were reported.

The two-alarm fire destroyed the house 452 Herkimer St., between Bird and Garner avenues. It was reported shortly after 5 a.m.

The occupied 2 1/2-story structure was fully involved when firefighters arrived, officials reported.

Gary Phillians, who said he’s friends with the couple who lives at 452 Herkimer with their child, said he was dozing in his van in front of the house when he heard a noise outside. He woke to see flames on the front porch.

“I ran to get them out of the house right away,” said Phillians, who said he’s been helping out the family following a recent death in their family.

“It was so hot I couldn’t get on the front porch to knock. I threw a bicycle at the door,” said Phillians. He said he heard a voice on the other side of the door and yelled for them to get out through the back.

After getting the back door open, Phillians said he and the residents tore down a section of the back fence and fled.

A neighbor said he saw flames after opening his front door to let in his dog.

“My dog was scratching at the door. That’s what got my attention,” said Donnell Fish, who lives across the street. He said that when he opened the door, he saw the front of 452 Herkimer St. was ablaze.

The roof and second floor collapsed into the first floor and only a portion of the south wall remains standing. Damage was estimated at $140,000 to the structure and $50,000 to its contents.

Emergency demolition has been requested for 452 Herkimer St. The cause of the fire is under investigation, officials reported.

Flames spread to 456 Herkimer St., another 2 1/2-story occupied house immediately to the north. Damages there were estimated at $80,000 to the structure and $40,000 to its contents. That house sustained a partial collapse of its roof.

A third house, at 450 Herkimer St., sustained an estimated $10,000 damage, officials reported.

Firefighters remain on the scene.

Neighbors watched the firefighting efforts from their front porches. Sections of Bird, Garner and Potomac avenues were blocked off by fire trucks.

A spokesman for the American Red Cross said volunteers were on their way to assist the multiple families affected by the fire.