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A 42-year-old man was hospitalized in fair condition today after he was rescued from what police are calling a "suspicious" fire that consumed his Sweet Avenue apartment Tuesday.

Ladder 11 firefighters responding to the 6:51 p.m. alarm at 423 Sweet Ave., found heavy flames on the front and one side of the first floor of the 2 1/2 -story house. The initial report was that people were trapped inside.

Firefighters Thomas Jackson, Thomas Schmelzinger and Charles Sardo went around back to start the search.

"After getting in, (they) found a gentleman on the steps right at the landing," said acting 3rd Battalion Chief Michael Lombardo.

The victim, later identified as Isaac Wright, was conscious when he was found and "told us no one else was in the building," Lombardo said. Wright, who reportedly suffered smoke inhalation and burns, was taken by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center.

Damage was estimated at $25,000 to the house and $15,000 to its contents.

The cause remains under investigation, fire investigators said today.

The fire was the second in three days on Sweet Avenue. Investigators have ruled Sunday's fire at 60 Sweet Ave. an arson. In that blaze, Lombardo entered the building and found a shooting victim who later died of his injuries.

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