Syracuse firefighters were pulled from inside a burning house for their own safety this morning, and did not find a victim until after they could get back inside the home.
Firefighters were called to 354 Clairmonte Avenue, between Stolp and Crossett Streets, on the edge of the Strathmore area, at 4am Sunday. Fire was reported on the second floor of the two family, two storey home, and went up into the attic.
Deputy Chief Steve Cavuto, who was directing the firefighting operation, tells us that firefighters were told by neighbors that there were a couple people in the burning house. They had done a preliminary search, but Cavuto says the fire was close to flashing over (bursting into major flames), so he ordered the men out, to fight the flames from the outside, for their own safety.
The victim, still unidentified, was found after they went back into the building. Cavuto says if they'd been sure it was a vacant house, he would have never allowed the firefighters in to start with.
The Syracuse Firefighters' Union posted on its Facebook page that five firefighters were injured in this morning's house fire. Four firefighters were burned, one with second degree burns to his arms, neck and face. A fifth has a broken hand. Cavuto says none was hospitalized, and none of the injuries is life threatening.
Fire investigators are still looking for the cause, and police tell us they don't expect to release the victim's name today. The family that lived downstair was away on vacation at the time.