Niagara Falls, NY – Fire sprinkler helped suppress fire on 15th floor of high rise apartment building

A driver for the Meals on Wheels program helped avert a potential tragedy in an apartment building in the 900 block of Cedar Avenue late Friday morning.

Falls firefighters said the driver was making a lunchtime delivery on the 15th floor of the Niagara Towers apartment building when he discovered a fire there.

“He saw smoke coming out of an apartment and a person on the ground,” Falls Fire Chief Joe Pedulla sad.

Pedulla said crews from the 10th Street Fire Station, just around the corner from the apartment building, were returning to their hall at the time the fire call came in.

“It’s ironic but they had spent the morning at the fire training tower working on high-rise structure fires,” the fire chief said. “It’s mot something we train for extensively, but the timing was good today.”

As firefighters arrived on the scene, they found the Meals on Wheels driver and the occupant of the 15th floor apartment outside the building on the front lawn. Both were suffering form smoke inhalation. “(Firefighters) saw smoke coming out of the 15th floor, and the driver had helped the resident downstairs,” Pedula said. “We feared that they might be more people on the 15th floor with smoke inhalation.”

But when firefighters arrived on the 15th floor they found no additional victims.

The driver and the occupant of the apartment were hospitalized for treatment.

Pedulla said firefighters attached a hose to a 14th floor standpipe and then battled the fire in the apartment. A sprinkler system in the building helped suppress the fire and kept it from spreading.

The chief said the fire damage was “extensive” but limited to the apartment where the blaze began. He said other floors in the building suffered water damage from the sprinkler system.

The cause of the fire was listed as electrical, stemming from an air conditioner being powered off of an extension cord.