NIAGARA FALLS - Five people escaped a burning Falls Street home Thursday, including a 3-year-old girl who had to be dropped down to her mother after the woman jumped from a second-floor porch.
The five lived on the second floor of the two-family home at 1922 Falls St., where the fire was reported at 3:10 a.m., according to the city fire department.
The women tried to escape the blaze down a rear stairwell, but their path was blocked, Niagara Falls Fire Chief Thomas Colangelo said.
"Smoke basically kept them from going that way," he said.
That's why they had to jump from the porch. The mother went first, and then the 3-year-old was dropped by the other women, the fire chief said.
The other three women then jumped from the porch. One of the women suffered fractures to both legs and a chest injury, Colangelo said. Two of the other women suffered minor injuries. The mother and child were not injured.
Ambulances took the three injured women to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, and the woman with the most serious injuries was transferred to Erie County Medical Center.
The 2 1/2-story building was fully involved when firefighters arrived. The second-floor residents already managed to escape before the firefighters got there.
Firefighters encountered heavy fire coming from all windows and openings on the first floor and some on the second. Conditions prevented firefighters from entering the building, and initially they didn't know if anyone was home on the first floor.
The residents who lived on the first floor, two adults and three children, were not home at the time of the fire.
A dog and a cat died in the fire, the cause of which is under investigation. The home has been condemned and what's left of the house will be demolished, Colangelo said.
Officials called every on-duty firefighter in the city to the fire scene. Departments from outside the Falls were called in for mutual aid and off-duty city personnel were called in, the fire chief said.
The Red Cross is helping eight people.