Fire damages East Jefferson Street home Friday morning

This home at 23 East Jefferson St. in Salamanca was damaged early Friday morning when a fire broke out in a second-floor bedroom. Salamanca Fire Department contained the fire within five minutes of arrival. The fire resulted in about $20,000 of damage.

SALAMANCA — A fire broke out Friday morning in the second story of a Salamanca home, leaving minor visible charring outside and resulting in an estimated $20,000 in damage.

First on the scene at 23 East Jefferson St. was the Salamanca Fire Department, which received a call to respond at 5:31 a.m. and arrived three minutes later, according to Fire Chief Nick Boacharski.

Salamanca firefighters were met with fire coming from a second-floor window of the home, Bocharski said.

“The fire was contained to the bedroom of origin,” the chief said. “Most of the second floor had smoke damage.”

Bocharski said the fire crew did a great job of handling the situation quickly. Assistant Fire Chief Tom Sturdevant and crew contained the fire within five minutes of arrival with a single hose line, he said.

County property records indicated the home at 23 East Jefferson St. is owned by Lane R. Hoag. Bocharski identified the tenant as Melissa Gillete.

All four occupants of the home were able to vacate safely, the chief said, contributing the landlord’s proper use of smoke detectors and the tenant’s closing the bedroom door when the fire began to saving lives and slowing the progression of the fire.

“Without that, it would have been a totally different situation,” Bocharski said.

The homes on East Jefferson Street are close together, as are homes on South Main and Summit streets on each end of East Jefferson, which could have easily spread the fire if not contained, the chief said.

“We could have potentially lost half a black, so we’re very happy with both the tenant and the landlords,” he added. “If they hadn’t have been alerted by those smoke alarms, we could have lost people there.”

Additionally, Bocharski said an ambulance call came in shortly after a crew left to attend the fire. He said if the ambulance call came in before, they would have been short personnel and “it would have been a totally different story.”

Salamanca Fire Investigators have determined the cause as an overheated extension cord, Boacharski said. He said the damage was primarily contained to the bedroom of origin and its contents, along with smoke damage to the second floor.

“It’s going to need some rehab, but it could be fully restored,” he added.

Red Cross is assisting the family, the chief said.

Salamanca was assisted by the Kill Buck Volunteer Fire Department, Salamanca Police and Seneca Nation of Indians Marshalls at the scene, Boacharski said.

Ellicottville and Great Valley firefighters responded to an EMS call to assist city firefighters, the fire chief said. The Seneca Nation Fire Department was on stand by.

(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at