Three-Alarm Fire in West Side Apartment Building Displaces 60; Suspect Arrested
BUFFALO, N.Y.-- For west side resident, Janice Moore, her Friday started with an alarm.
"I stayed up to like 12:30 and then I went into my bedroom to watch TV and all this noise started coming around my apartment, I went to the front and I thought the school alarm had went off and I looked out my window and it was fire coming out of the apartment window,” said Moore.
The flames she watched from her three story apartment would later become a three-alarm blaze at the Lafayette-Barton Apartments on Lafayette Avenue.
"All I kept thinking was 'just don't come over to my apartment. I can't afford to lose what I gained,” said Moore.
Moore was able to make it out of the building unharmed, but she couldn’t help looking back up at her home, reeling from a possible loss that goes beyond the tangible.
"I'm from New Jersey, I came to clean my life up from drugs and I did a good job. You know? Meeting good positive people and I built my apartment up the way I wanted to,” said Moore.
After battling the fire for hours in Saturday's frigid temperatures, fire crews were able to get it under control.
In the end, at least 60 residents were displaced and many of them, like Moore took shelter at nearby church, St. John’s-Grace Episcopal.
Chief Communications Officer at the American Red Cross WNY, Jay Bonafede, says the group set up the shelter and adds that this tragedy should also serve to remind everyone to take emergency preparedness seriously.
"This can happen anytime, anywhere as Janice was saying to me here earlier, she never thought this would happen and Janice is a volunteer with us on the blood services side,” said Bonafede.
As for Moore, she'll be spending Saturday night on a shelter cot, reminiscing on the old and hoping for good news.
"That community was so beautiful. It was a lady named Ms. Grace, she just came in here to see me and then she noticed me. She walks from her block to the end of our block and she just puts down flowers trying to make the community look nice,” said Moore.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
UPDATE: The Buffalo Police Department arrested 29-year-old Jonathan Jimenez on March 13. Charges include second-degree arson, second-degree burglary, first-degree criminal contempt, first-degree criminal mischief and first-degree reckless endangerment.