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2 FIREFIGHTERS, RESIDENT ARE HURT IN FIRE

Three people, including two firefighters, were injured early Saturday in a two-alarm fire that sent dozens of residents fleeing from a Fillmore Avenue rooming house.

The blaze, blamed on careless smoking, broke out shortly after midnight in a sleeping room on the top floor of the three-story Parkside Furnished Rooms for Men, 827 Fillmore Ave.

One resident, Gilbert Rexicker, 65, was listed in fair condition in the Erie County Medical Center, where he was being treated for smoke inhalation, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Third Battalion Chief Robert Russell said firefighters used ladders to rescue several residents from the third floor.

"When we got there, they were hanging out the windows," Russell said.

The remaining residents of the 40-room frame building escaped without injury.

Firefighter Barry Bynes of Engine Company 18 was treated for burns in Sheehan Memorial Hospital and returned to duty, according to Russell. A second firefighter was treated for a minor burn at the scene.

Al Ostrander, who fled from the fire while barefoot, wrapped a jacket around his feet while he watched firefighters.

The fire started in his room while he was in the restroom, next door, Ostrander said.

"All I can say is it could have been the heater . . . (or) it could have been a cigarette," Ostrander said.

Thirty-two rooms of the house were occupied, said building manager Fred Kocemba.

Russell estimated total damage at $50,000. The building is owned by Matt Peters of Woltz Avenue, according to tenants.

Russell said flames caused another $500 in damages to a building at 825 Fillmore.

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