Weather Causes Issues in 2 Alarm Fire

January 9, 2014 Updated Jan 9, 2014 at 6:51 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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January 9, 2014 Updated Jan 9, 2014 at 6:51 AM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) A late night two alarm fire gives Buffalo Firefighters all sorts of challenges, and it could have been prevented.

That fire started at about 10:15 Wednesday night along Abbott Road near McKinley. Flames quickly spread through the home, forcing a second alarm to be called, and causing firefighters to evacuate and fight the blaze from the outside.

Officials say everyone inside was able to escape in time, the homeowners are being assisted by the Red Cross at this time. There was a total of $120,000 in damage to the home and contents.

The Buffalo Fire Commissioner says cold weather and homeowner error is to blame.

"Guy's using a torpedo heater to defrost the pipes in the house. This is something that happens every year in the cold weather climates in the City of Buffalo. We like to admonish all homeowners, residents, please do not try to defrost your pipes with open flames. It is a huge fire hazard that puts our guys at risk as well as themselves," Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said.

But just getting water was an issue early on.

With all the snow that fell over the last few days, crews couldn't get to the fire hydrants right away, delaying their efforts to put out the blaze.

"We had hydrants that were buried in the snow. We had to go digging around for them, that was one of our issues. That was a delay, a little bit of a delay in getting water to our pumpers," Div. Chief Patrick Britzzalaro said.

"And that's always an issue in the wintertime. Our guys regularly go out on all shifts in the wintertime and dig out hydrants and that. The weather conditions being what they were over the last couple of days. You can imagine that that's been a very difficult task to keep up with that," Commissioner Whitfield added.

Fire officials ask for the public's help to keep hydrants clear. If you cannot do it yourself, call the city's 3-1-1 line to request a crew to come dig out your hydrant.