Rochester weather hasn’t warmed up quite yet, but too many residents are learning about the dangers that heat can cause. Late last month, a home on Monroe Avenue was demolished following a three-alarm fire — and worst of all, the tenants were away on their honeymoon when the blaze broke out.
Kera and Adam Nugent were married in September, but the couple opted to wait until March to take their honeymoon (the average of which lasts anywhere from seven to nine days). Tragically, they enjoyed only two days of their Floridian trip, which was likely booked online like 53% of all travel plans, before they received news that their lives had changed forever. A friend who happened to be passing by their three-story house saw the fire and immediately called the couple to alert them. Unfortunately, the lack of a sprinkler system in the building allowed the fire to gain too much momentum before the fire department had a chance to respond. The combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in all buildings could reduce overall injuries, loss of life, and property damage by at least 50%.
When firefighters were called to the scene right after 9 PM, it was clear that smoke and flames were coming from the second floor of the home, which had three different apartment units. Officials believe the fire started on an outside balcony, where frames then spread to the attic and caused it to collapse. The fire was so expansive that a Rochester firefighter sustained a burn while fighting the blaze. Ultimately, the home had to be torn down due to the damage, while two nearby homes sustained minor heat damage.
Even worse, the couple lost irreplaceable belongings, including precious memories of Kera’s mother, who died when the new bride was young. Although no human occupants of the building were hurt, the Nugents were like most households in the U.S. that have one or more pets. Sadly, at least one of the couple’s two cats perished in the fire. A GoFundMe campaign has been established in the couple’s name in an effort to help the newlyweds get a new start to their married lives.
Coincidentally, the fire was the second to occur in a Monroe Avenue building in the span of a week. A four-alarm fire broke out in a multi-use building that housed Misfit Donuts, a barber shop, and residential apartments just a few days prior. Although officials do not believe the two incidents are related, the circumstances surrounding the first fire are being considered “somewhat suspicious.” Two firefighters (out of 80 who were eventually called to the scene) were burned while trying to contain that blaze and were later treated for their injuries. Officials performed testing for accelerants and are currently investigating the fire, though no new reports have been released as to their findings.
In the past few weeks, there have been some 14 fires to occur in the Rochester area. Eight of those fires were due to cooking or careless discard of smoking materials. It just goes to show how important fire safety is — so make sure to check your smoke detectors and use extreme caution when using electronic equipment, powering up space heaters, and cooking in the kitchen.