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2 city firefighters hospitalized in blaze at house ; Injuries occur as 3 fall through floor on E. Side

Three Buffalo firefighters fell through the floor of a burning vacant house in the city's East Delavan-Fillmore section Wednesday night, and two of them were injured and taken to the hospital, fire officials reported.

The injuries in the blaze at 145 Mohican Ave. were described by fire officials at the scene as "non-life-threatening." The nature of the fire is being described as "suspicious."

Firefighters responded to a call at 8:13 p.m. and arrived to find flames on the first and second floors at the front of the 2 1/2 -story house.

While attacking the blaze at the interior of the second story, one of the firefighters came upon a hole in the floor, Division Chief Jack Hess said. The firefighter stopped before reaching the hole, Hess said, but moments later, the floor gave way.

"There wasn't enough support in that section [of the floor]," Hess said.

Shortly thereafter, two more firefighters also fell through in the same part of the floor in a similar manner, Hess said. The firefighters landed on the first floor in an area between the living and dining rooms that was not ablaze at the time, he said.

One of the firefighters was rushed to Erie County Medical Center by Rural/Metro Medical Services; the other was taken there by the Buffalo Fire Department's Rescue 1. The third was evaluated and remained on duty at the scene.

"We don't think the injuries are serious in any way," Hess said.

The identities of the firefighters were not disclosed by the department.

The dangerous blaze came 16 months after Fire Lt. Charles W. "Chip" McCarthy Jr. and Firefighter Jonathan S. Croom fell through a collapsed section of a floor into the basement of a burning Genesee Street deli and died of smoke inhalation.

Hess said the situation Wednesday night could have been much worse than the one on Aug. 24, 2009.

"It's a dangerous profession; there's no getting around that," Hess said. "It's a nerve-racking thing."

Investigators today will continue their efforts to determine the cause of the fire. Damage was estimated at $20,000.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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