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One person unaccounted, three people rushed to ECMC following Elmwood Village fire

Posted at 2:49 AM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 18:53:13-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Crews continue to search for one unaccounted person following a fire in the Elmwood Village.

Three people that were inside the house were rushed to Erie County Medical Center. Two of them are being treated for smoke inhalation.

According to police, two 60-year-old males are in critical condition and a 40-year-old male is in stable condition.

A total of five people lived in the building. Four residents that occupy the house are accounted for.

The Red Cross reports its volunteers are assisting one person affected by the fire.

First responders were called to the scene at 1074 Elmwood at 2:25am. A second alarm was toned out at 2:30am followed by a third alarm a short time later. This scene is across the street from Pano's restaurant, between Forest and Bird Avenues.

Michael Bernhardt owns the house next door. His home is badly damaged, but all his tenants got out safely.

"I heard people screaming - so i got up and ran to the front – i saw the glow through my leaded glass windows," said Bernhardt. "It was just loud – the fire was loud. There were people on the front lawn yelling at somebody they saw to get out of the building - in the beginning - I guess that's what i heard that woke me up -probably is all the people yelling."

The owner of the property Larry Patti talked at length with a detective on the scene. But Patti declined an on-camera interview. He operated Elmwood print out in the front of the building. We asked Bernhardt, who has lived here for 20-years, about the property next door.

"I mean it was kind of like a half-way-house – I guess – so with whatever comes with that," remarked Bernhardt.

But Buffalo Police could not confirm it was serving as a half-way-house.

We checked with Patti Macdonald from project slumlord - who tells 7 eyewitness news there are no 'open housing court case's for this property. But there were concerns about it being used as both a commercial and residential building. Realytrac.-com list the property as a commercial site.

More K-9 units arrived at the scene early Wednesday evening.

Investigators say the fire started on the second floor. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Damage to the initial fire building and surrounding structures is pegged at more than half-a-million dollars.