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June 13, 2011 - 8:55am

One person injured in early morning house fire in Le Roy

posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy.

UPDATE 10:49 a.m.: The family cat perished in the fire.

UPDATED 9:27 a.m. Updated at 2:32 p.m. with addtional information included.

One person suffered burns in an early morning house fire at 3 Orchard Drive, Le Roy, the that Le Roy police classify as suspicious.

No suspect has been named in the fire.

Two other people managed to escape the blaze, one by climbing out of a second floor window and the other being helped from a second floor deck by a Le Roy Police officer, who protected her from the flames as he helped her down an outside stairway.

The call came in at 3:26 a.m. after the family dog woke one of the residents and alerted her to the fire. She called 9-1-1.

The woman was then helped from the deck by Officer Rob Tygart. Her husband, Richard Nelson, climbed from a back window when his exit path was blocked by flames.

Paul Atkinson, 42, reportedly suffered 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns. He was taken by Le Roy Ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Nelson suffered an ankle injury, but initially declined treatment. Hours after the fire, he requested treatment for the injury as well as a complain of pain in his side.

The fourth occupant of the home, the owner, Thomas Atkinson, was out  delivering newspapers at the time the fire was called in.

Le Roy Chief of Police Chris Hayward said the investigation has not yet determined if smoke detectors sounded after the blaze started.

"The daughter was the one who called the fire in and the way it was going it probably would have been a total loss if she hadn’t heard the dog," Hayward said. "God only knows what the outcome would have been."

There are aspects of the fire scene, Hayward indicated, that lead investigators to suspect the fire could have been intentionally set.

Investigators are trying to determine who might have set the fire.

An aggressive response by the first Le Roy firefighters on scene, Bill Wood and Tom Carroll, was critical to containing the fire to two back rooms, said Le Roy Fire Chief Mike Sheflin, who also gave credit to the department's aerial crew.

"You can see where they cut the vent," Sheflin said. "It's in the perfect spot to keep the fire from extending."

Sheflin said the department quickly overcame a problem with water pressure in the neighborhood by calling in tankers from Stafford, Bergen, Pavilion and Caledonia.

The chief wouldn't speculate on the cause of the drop in water pressure and referred questions to the Monroe County Water Authority. There is water line construction currently taking place on East Avenue.

Also assisting at the scene were Genesee County Emergency Services and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. A Mercy EMS ambulance responded on standby in Le Roy while the local ambulance was tied up on the call.

No firefighters were injured.

Chelsea O'Brien
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But did the dog get out ok?
Howard B. Owens
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Chief Sheflin confirms the dog is safe.
Jennifer Keys
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Such a cute dog and very smart, too. Glad that it wasn't worse and hope that the individual who is in the hospital is okay too! Thank you, Howard, for covering this.
AnnMarie DiLaura
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Thankfully others escaped successfully:)

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