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POLICE SAVE GUEST FROM MOTEL FIRE; ANOTHER MAN HURT

Police pulled one man from a burning room, and another man suffered burns on his lower back during an early morning fire Sunday at the Grand Motor Inn on Niagara Falls Boulevard, Town of Tonawanda police said.

Amherst Police Officer Robert McMahon and Town of Tonawanda Police Officers Daniel Walbesser and Joseph Carosi were first to arrive at the motel at 2000 Niagara Falls Blvd. shortly after authorities were alerted to the fire at about 4:15 a.m.

As they evacuated guests, they heard a man calling for help from Room 19, which was filling with smoke and fire, police said.

Walbesser and Eric Bailey, a motel guest, broke the room window and pulled Eric Harris, 29, of Dartmouth Avenue to safety.

Brighton volunteer firefighters, led by Chief Mark A. Molitor, arrived at the scene a few minutes later.

"There were flames and heavy smoke coming out of the building when we got there," Molitor said.

"One room sustained heavy damage, and the adjoining rooms, to the left and to the right, (had) some structural damage."

James Rabideau, 41, of Traverse Circle, North Tonawanda, suffered lower back burns when he returned to the room from which he had been evacuated to retrieve some belongings, police said.

Both Rabideau and Harris were treated by paramedics at the scene. A relative later took Rabideau to a hospital.

The Ellicott Creek Fire Company from Amherst and the Kenilworth and Sheridan Park companies from the Town of Tonawanda assisted Brighton firefighters.

"We spent two hours putting the fire out and another couple for investigation," Molitor said.

He estimated damage at $32,000 to the one-story building and $8,000 to its contents. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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