NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Three people, including one police officer, were taken to Montefiore Hospital New Rochelle with smoke inhalation, and 17 families were evacuated, as the result of an early morning fire at 11 Locust Avenue near Main Street in downtown New Rochelle.
New Rochelle firefighters were called to the scene shortly before 4:30 a.m., according to NRFD Deputy Chief John Reed.
An occupant of a 4th floor apartment at the front of the building had attempted to put out a fire with a dry chemical fire extinguisher, according to Reed. After the man called 911, New Rochelle Police responded.
"They were banging on the door trying to communicate with the occupant," said Reed. "They were able to get him roused and out the door."
UPDATE: Journal News quotes Deputy Chief Robert Benz, who was not on scene, that the mane escaped to the roof:
There were some anxious moments at first when the woman in the apartment told responding police officers and firefighters that her husband was still in the apartment, Benz said. A search revealed that he had climbed out a window onto the fire escape and made his way to the roof, where firefighters reached him with a ladder and took him to safety.
NRPD called NRFD to expedite a response. Members of the NRFD responded quickly and worked hard.
"It was a great stop," said Reed. "Fire had gotten up into the cockloft, it was beginning to extend across the roof. We were able to knock it down and save the building."
A cockloft, or "inverted roof", is the space between the roof and the flat beams to provide a pitch to drain rain and a vented air space to reduce top-floor temperature.
There was extensive damage to the original fire apartment, it was completely destroyed. The floor below received water damage.
Con Edison and Red Cross were called to the scene. Utilities remain on and 15 of the families were allowed back in the building shortly after 6:00 a.m.
The two families in the damaged apartments were being relocated by Red Cross.
UPDATE: Red Cross spokeswoman Carolyn Sherwin said four families were displaced (6 adults, 1 child). They were given emergency assist, referrals & TLC.
The cause of the fire was not yet determined.
UPDATE: Sources tell Talk of the Sound a candle fellow over. Journal News reporting it was a religious candle.
No firefighters were injured.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Talk of the Sound received two separate reports that a total of three persons were taken to the hospital. Some photos provided by James O'Toole.