ROCHESTER, Pa. — A part of Rochester’s downtown is now in ruins after a massive fire tore through two buildings overnight.
”The roof was coming down. You could see the particles,” said Deborah Belkowski, who lives in the area. “It just breaks my heart.”
County drone footage shows the extent of damage shortly after the call came in around 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Crews arrived on Brighton Avenue to find an inferno of flames and knew the buildings couldn’t be saved, even bringing in tankers for more water.
“The fire was so intense. The hydrant wasn’t doing enough. … Five hydrants we used to try to knock that fire down,” said Assistant Chief Mike Mamone of the Rochester Fire Department.
The fire started in an apartment upstairs and then spread to an antique shop below that was filled with collectibles. Channel 11 asked crews if the amount of items inside caused issues for them.
”It was never a problem. We never went in the building. We had so much fire when we got here we went to defensive action right away,” Mamone said.
Four people were hurt, including three firefighters who suffered leg and shoulder injuries while working to put out the flames. Crews rescued a man and his two dogs from the second floor.
While neighbors and business owners said they’re glad everyone is OK, the fire leaves a gaping hole in their community.
”You get an empty lot in the middle of the business district, and that’s not a good thing,” said Tim Brown of John Brown’s Armory.
The Rochester fire marshal is investigating the cause.
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