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Fire officials said careless smoking triggered a smoky bedroom fire early Monday evening that forced about 40 residents from a high-rise building in the Commodore Perry apartments at 124 Fulton St. and seriously injured one resident.

First Battalion Chief Cornelius Keane said James Patton, who is blind, apparently dropped his lighter on himself and his bed, triggering the blaze about 5:45 p.m. in his fourth-floor apartment.

Patton suffered burns on his face and hands, Keane said. He was undergoing treatment Monday evening in the burn unit of Erie County Medical Center. His condition was listed as serious.

Fire damage was estimated at about $14,000.

Patton was rescued by Buffalo Municipal Housing Officer Ralph Skinner. He and authority Officers Leo McGrath and Hamid Motley arrived at about the same time.

"There was a lot of smoke coming out of the bedroom window," said Motley, who added that officers moved quickly to evacuate the four floors above Patton's.

Keane said firefighters evacuated about a dozen people from the fourth floor and extinguished the fire in Patton's apartment in about 20 minutes. Most residents returned to their apartments by 6:30 p.m.

Keane said residents who remained in the eight-story building were instructed to close fireproof doors of their apartments.

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