One Killed in Rochester Apartment Fire

Posted at: 01/22/2013 6:49 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Rochester Fire crews had to work through the freezing temps to battle an apartment fire early Tuesday morning. One person died in that blaze and dozens were evacuated.

The fire started just before 4 a.m. at an apartment building near the Kutzky Park area.

The fire department is not releasing the name, but has said they found one person dead, and that three had to be rescued.

One of those that had to be rescued was Rick Gernentz who lived next door to the burning apartment.

"I got up because my dog was barking and then I could really smell the smoke and hear the fire alarm going off," said Gernentz.

By the time Gernentz woke up, the smoke was too thick to leave by the front door and he, his wife, and his son had to rescued from the balcony.

"We had to get my wife up on a ladder as soon as they were doing that I heard a window break behind me and the flames were shooting out the window," said Gernentz.

Fire marshal Larry Mueller says once Gernentz and his family were rescued the fire was put out fairly quickly

"We responded to the address just after four a.m. and there was fire in the apartment and they quickly extinguished the fire.”

But it was difficult in the freezing conditions.

"When it's this cold obviously it's harmful to our apparatus so we rotated crews and tried to rotate equipment making sure it's reliable and working at all times," said Mueller.

One person was found dead in the burning apartment. Other residents had to wait in their cars for two hours before they could go back in.

"No damage to ours at all, thank god, but it really woke me up it's true you leave with what you have on your back and that's it," said Gernentz.

While he is grateful for the work by the fire crews he says his thoughts are with his neighbors next door.

"I have a whole new respect for fires and how dangerous they can be," said Gernentz.

Gernentz says a husband and wife lived in the damaged apartment, but he did not know who had died.        

Fire said that one person that lived in the damaged apartment had to be put up by the Red Cross. Fire crews are still looking into exactly what caused the blaze.