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2 HOSPITALIZED IN HOUSE FIRE; OTHERS ESCAPE FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE 3 FROM LASALLE AVE. BLAZE

Two University at Buffalo students remained hospitalized today with injuries suffered in a house fire early Sunday on LaSalle Avenue.

Eric Cohen, 21, of Merrick, L.I., was listed in critical condition in the burn-treatment center of Erie County Medical Center with injuries suffered about 6 a.m. in a fire at 277 LaSalle.

Brian Gobbi, 22, of East Northport, L.I., was listed in fair condition today in Millard Fillmore Hospital, where he was transferred from the medical center.

He was asleep in the attic of the 2 1/2 -story frame home when the fire broke out, officials said.

A third resident of the house, Gary Sebel, 21, of East Meadow, L.I., also was rescued from the burning house by firefighters.

Sebel was taken to the medical center, where he was treated and released.

"He apparently didn't wake up when the others did," Buffalo Fire Investigator Patrick Lewis said of Cohen.

The four other people in the upper flat of the building got out safely, as did the three women who occupied the downstairs flat.

Capt. Joseph La Marca suffered debris in his eyes and a back injury but remained on duty, firefighters said.

Damage was estimated at $35,000 to the building and $10,000 to its contents.

Cause of the fire was undetermined but was listed as "possible misuse of smoking materials," Lewis said.

Careless smoking was also raised as a possibility by Sebel, who returned to survey the damage in late morning with roommates Heywood Barash of Oceanside, L.I., and Dave Buchbinder, 21, of New York City.

"It could have been a cigarette butt in the couch," Sebel said.

The blackened remains of the couch, a table and other debris lay in the front yard.

Authorities said they came from the front room of the second-floor flat.

According to Sebel: "The fire was going when we woke up. The firemen had to take me down a ladder to a back window on the second floor. They were great."

Donald Weiss of 253 Winspear Ave. is listed as owner of the house.

Frank Stein and Ken Ezzo of De Carlo Emergency Enclosures, who boarded up the house, said the first-floor flat was damaged mainly by water.

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