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Two fires in Buffalo cause $520,00 in damage; 2 injured, many left homeless

A two-alarm fire at 132-134 Spring St., the site of Friendship Manor and A.C. Ware Manor apartments, injured two people and caused $200,000 in damage about noon Wednesday.

The East Side fire raged several hours after another two-alarm blaze on the West Side destroyed one house and heavily damaged two others, with overall damage estimated at $320,000.

The fire at the public housing apartment complex in downtown Buffalo was reported at about noon and quickly went to a second alarm because of the nature of the building, which has 50 units.

Flames reportedly originated in a second-floor unit and spread into an attic crawlspace. Two people were rescued, fire officials reported from the scene.

Other tenants not affected by smoke were advised to shelter in place.

Damage was estimated at $150,000 to the structure and $50,000 to its contents.

The Red Cross was called to assist 16 residents affected by the fire.

Shortly after 5 a.m., a two-alarm fire destroyed a 2½-story house at 452 Herkimer St., between Bird and Garner avenues.

The house, which was occupied, was fully involved when firefighters arrived, officials reported.

Gary Phillians, who said he is friends of the couple living at 452 Herkimer with their child, said he was dozing in his van in front of the house when he heard a noise outside and awoke to see flames on the front porch.

“I ran to get them out of the house right away,” said Phillians, who said he has been helping out the family following a recent death in their family.

“It was so hot I couldn’t get on the front porch to knock. I threw a bicycle at the door,” said Phillians. He said he heard a voice on the other side of the door and yelled for them to get out through the back.

After getting the back door open, Phillians said he and the residents tore down a section of the back fence and fled.

A neighbor said he saw flames after opening his front door to let in his dog.

“My dog was scratching at the door. That’s what got my attention,” said Donnell Fish, who lives across the street. He said that when he opened the door, he saw the front of 452 Herkimer St. was ablaze.

The roof and second floor collapsed into the first floor and only a portion of the south wall remains standing.

Damage was estimated at $140,000 to the structure and $50,000 to its contents.

Emergency demolition has been requested for 452 Herkimer. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, officials reported.

Flames spread to 456 Herkimer St., another 2½-story occupied house immediately to the north. Damages there were estimated at $80,000 to the structure and $40,000 to its contents and the roof was partially collapsed.

Damage to a third house, at 450 Herkimer, was an estimated $10,000, officials reported.

Neighbors watched the firefighting efforts from front porches. Sections of Bird, Garner and Potomac avenues were blocked off to traffic by fire trucks.

A spokesman for the Red Cross said volunteers were on their way to assist the several families affected by the fire.