Three people were rescued from the second floor of a home on Scotland Road in Canandaigua early Monday morning by ladder. It is not known if any of the rescued were children. The fourth person made it out of the back of the house. All four people were transported to the hospital.
CANANDAIGUA — It had only been a few hours since firefighters squelched the flames that broke out inside their Canandaigua home, when Erin McCarthy and her brother Matt McCarthy worked Monday morning to salvage what they could from inside.
For Erin and Matt, along with three other siblings and their parents Bill and Susan McCarthy, the heavily damaged structure at 22 Scotland Road in the city has been their home for around 25 years.
“It’s our whole childhood,” Erin said, taking break from scavenging shortly before noon Monday. “It’s our whole childhood in that house.”
Various belongings that had accumulated through the years inside the home’s attic were now mostly destroyed and piled on the property’s front yard. Firefighters had tossed the items there during the war waged against the blaze.
“We’re just happy everyone is OK,” Erin said. “This is just things. Things can be replaced. People can’t.”
The cause of the fire that erupted inside the home late Sunday night and blazed into the early Monday morning hours remains under investigation, according to emergency responders.
Canandaigua Acting Fire Chief Ben Cramer said firefighters were dispatched to address the flames at the more than century-old home at 11:39 p.m. Sunday and responders didn’t return to base until around 5:30 a.m. Monday.
It took as many as 45 firefighters on the scene at the peak of the blaze to deal with the fire that also required Bill, Matt and Matt’s girlfriend, Sarah Bradley, to be rescued from a second-story window.
Matt went over the details of the chaos on Monday. He said Bill, a retired New York Police Department officer, first made sure that his wife was outside the home. After witnessing the ceiling on the first level collapse, he darted up the stairs to where Sarah was in a second-story bedroom sleeping.
“I was calling for my girlfriend,” Matt said. “But she wasn’t answering."
Matt, unable to access the home from the front porch due to the extreme heat, bolted around the home and through the residence's back entrance. He said he headed up the stairs to a bedroom where Sarah and his father were calling for him.
With the fire and smoke only growing, the three gathered for air at a window. That’s where they were when firefighters arrived on scene. They escaped down a ladder and all four of the home’s occupants were sent to Thompson Hospital due to smoke inhalation.
Bill, who had been barefoot when he dashed around the flame-engulfed home, suffered severe burns on his feet and was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital. He was in satisfactory condition at the hospital as of press time, according to hospital personnel.
Erin pointed out that her parents bought the Scotland Road house in the early 1990s. Bill did the repair work on the previously abandoned home mostly himself those many years ago. It’s unclear currently if the home is salvageable at this time, she said.
“(Bill) obviously wants to be here, but he can’t,” said Erin, who currently lives a few blocks away from her parents' damaged structure.
Cramer estimated that it was around 2:30 a.m. when the bulk of the blaze was knocked down.
“There was quite a bit of personal Effects stored in the attic," the acting fire chief said. "We had to make sure that everything was properly extinguished.”
He said vehicles parked near the burning structure suffered damage, as well as a portion of a neighboring home.
“We’re pretty lucky that we were able to get there and get everybody out on time and that nobody wasn’t more seriously injured than they were,” Cramer said.
Kurt Baxter, of 31 Scotland Road, lives right across the street from the damaged home. He said he woke up at around midnight to the sirens from emergency vehicles blaring and their lights flashing through his windows.
Baxter showed video he took of the blaze, capturing the bursts of flames coming through the structure's roof. He expressed awe of the firefighters unruffled approach to dealing with the flames.
“It was surreal because everyone was so calm,” Baxter said. “It was very tactical."
The firefighters on scene, aside from Canandaigua Fire Department, included personnel from the Cheshire, Crystal Beach, Farmington, Fishers, Victor and the Canandaigua VA fire departments.