Fatal Fire Still Under Investigation

December 19, 2011 Updated Dec 19, 2011 at 9:56 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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December 19, 2011 Updated Dec 19, 2011 at 9:56 PM EDT


Buffalo (WKBW) The search for someplace warm to spend the night may have cost one man his life in Buffalo. Friday night, firefighters responded to a call of heavy smoke and flames coming from a vacant home in Sycamore Street. Firefighters say one man was found inside the home. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Neighbors say the abandoned structure was known for squatters who came to spend the night.

"At this time of the year you have people using inappropriate heat sources, and those kinds of things in these vacant buildings and even in some homes, where the mechanics may not be up to par. We would advise them that if they need help to ask for help," Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said.

As the temperatures get colder, many resort to living in abandoned homes or even under bridges.

"You have so many individuals on the streets right now in Buffalo who do not know where to go," Aubrey Calhoun of the Buffalo City Mission said.

But authorities want people to know there is help out there. The goal of the Buffalo City Mission is to help the under-served in the community through a variety of services.

"Our doors are open 24/7. And to let people know they can come here any time for a meal, or to come out of the cold, and take a hot shower, and get some clothing is crucial," Calhoun said.

The City Mission as well as a variety of other organizations provide warmth and safety for those in need. The other option can be far worse.

"We're hoping that we can cut down on the tragedies that we hear on the news and people dying in vacant buildings and in homes. And people struggling on our streets here in Western New York, and our goal is to eliminate that so we can have people out there fully functioning again," Calhoun added.

Buffalo Fire is still investigating the cause of the fire. The victim's name has not been released.

For more information on the Buffalo City Mission, head to http://www.buffalocitymission.org.