Late Wednesday night, a firefighter gave Dr. David Paul a tour of his home at 33 Ross St., Batavia, so he could survey the damage.
A fire that had started in the basement and wormed its way up to the top level of the house leading to extensive fire, smoke and water damage.
But the good news is that the structure largely remains intact.
"I'm glad I have good insurance," Paul said.
Paul purchased the stately home some 30 yeas ago, restored it and in the late 1980s, the house won a Landmark Society award.
"I was at my office in Buffalo and my daughter called me as said the house is on fire," Paul said. "I shot right back here. By the time I got here, the fire department and outlying departments were here and taking care of it. I didn't see any flames, but it was really smoking and they were actively working on it."
Along with City fire, departments from Elba, Alexander and the Town of Batavia rushed to the scene.
A quick response by all concerned helped save the house.
The fire appears to have started in the basement, though Chief Jim Maxwell said the fire is still under investigation and no cause has yet been determined.
The house was built in 1902 and used balloon construction, meaning the exterior walls are open from basement to ceiling, making it easy for flames to jump from floor to floor.
Typically, balloon construction homes become fully engulfed rather quickly, but firefighters were able to contain the fire and then work on isolating hot spots on the upper floors.
"I think they did an excellent job," Paul said. "They were here right away. They were considerate. It's a mess inside, but they seemed to control what they needed to do."
The fire was reported at 4:19 p.m. as smoke coming from the basement. By the time the first firefighters were on scene, flames were shooting out of two basement windows.
"We had a good interior attack by everyone involved here," Chief Maxwell said.
Genesee County Emergency Management and Darien fire also assisted at the scene.
Dr. Paul noted that usually he's the one donating to the Red Cross. Tonight he was grateful for a cup of coffee from the agency.
Maxwell said it will take some time to determine the cause of the fire because of the heavy damage to the basement. He noted there were reports of lightning strikes in the area prior to the fire being reported.
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