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Days before Christmas, Black Rock fire leaves 19 people without homes

Three days before Christmas, Lisa Jakubowski lost everything when fire erupted in her Black Rock home.

Jakubowski and her boyfriend, along with 17 others, were displaced early Friday morning after a fire ripped through the house and spread to two neighboring houses, Buffalo fire officials said.

"Everything I own is gone," said Jakubowski, who lived with her boyfriend at 73 Peter St., where the fire started at around 3:45 a.m.

They were able save their dog, a pug named Vader, but Jakubowski believed her four cats died in the blaze. On Friday afternoon, a cat was pulled from the home still alive.

The flames spread to two-family homes at 69 and 75 Peter as well.

Jakubowski's boyfriend woke up when he smelled smoke coming from a spare bedroom, she said. Her dog was sleeping close to her and, though she couldn't see because of heavy smoke, she was able to grab the dog and get out of the house with only the clothes she was wearing.

"I couldn't save my cats. I just couldn't," Jakubowski said. "It was me or them."

She said she heard windows exploding and her eyes were burning. She ended up outside the house standing on the sidewalk in her bare feet.

"It was just so fast," she said.

Jakubowski, who is originally from Lackawanna, moved into the single-family home in July 2016.

Across the street from the house about 90 minutes after firefighters extinguished the blaze, she clutched a green blanket. She wore a black hoodie she borrowed from a neighbor. The jacket, socks, boots and hat she was wearing were also from neighbors.

"This is all I have," she said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, fire officials said.

The Red Cross is assisting the five families affected by the fire.

The Buffalo Fire Department estimated damages to 73 Peter at $90,000; 69 Peter at $75,000; and 75 Peter at $30,000. Both 69 and 73 Peter were built in 1880, while 75 Peter was built in 1900, according to city property records.

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