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Woman saved from house fire

Buffalo firefighters raced into "very heavy fire conditions" inside a First Ward home just before midnight Sunday to rescue a woman who was trapped inside and unable to rush to safety, the city's fire commissioner said Monday.

Firefighters responded to an 11:53 p.m. alarm at 34 Hamburg St., after a man believed to be the woman's husband called 911 to say he couldn't get her out of the home.

"The male gave directions to the arriving companies as to the location of the woman, and they were able to go in and get her," Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield Jr. said.

Firefighters from Engine 32 and Ladder 5 carried the woman out of the burning home.

"She was pretty close to the door, but she's an invalid and was unable to get out by herself," the commissioner said.

"It was a very difficult rescue," Whitfield added. "It took several of them to carry her out."

Fire officials did not identify the couple, but authorities confirmed the woman, Rosemond C. Alessi, 65, of that Hamburg Street address, was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition in the Burn Intensive Care Unit late Monday.

The man, Francisco J. Leon, 69, was listed in stable condition at ECMC.

Both Alessi and Leon were being treated for smoke inhalation suffered from the heavy fire and smoke conditions.

The blaze left an estimated $90,000 damage to the 2 1/2 -story frame house located six blocks east of Louisiana Street, just south of Republic Street.

The cause remained under investigation.


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