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Several people rescued from Niagara Falls rooming house fire

NIAGARA FALLS – Niagara Falls firefighters used ladder trucks to rescue several people from a burning rooming house, and one man suffered a broken leg when he leaped from an upper window to escape, authorities said late Friday.

The fire, which erupted around 7:30 p.m. Friday, caused heavy damage to a rooming house at 1967 Niagara St., and authorities said it left more than 20 people homeless. The Red Cross is assisting victims.

A number of people were sticking their heads out of windows when city fire crews arrived, and firefighters did an excellent job of using ladder trucks to rescue them, said Fire Chief Tom Colangelo.

“Multiple people” were saved, the chief said.

The rooming house was the subject of controversy in the past because it is located near a city school, and some of the people living there were parolees from state prisons, including some sex offenders. In June 2009, The Buffalo News reported that a “cluster” of former sex offenders were living in the building in violation of city ordinances.

But Dennis Virtuoso, the city’s former chief building inspector, told The Buffalo News late Friday that it is his understanding that former sex offenders and people on parole no longer live in the building.

The rooming house is located over the former Zodiac Lounge bar, and the building was the scene of another fire in December 2012.

The fire is under investigation.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com