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Portland home gutted by fire

February 19, 2016
By Amanda Dedie ( , Westfield Republican

PORTLAND - A family was left grieving in more ways than one after they returned home from a funeral to find their house engulfed in flames Feb. 11.

The house at 6343 Ellicott Road in Portland was a split-apartment home to a total of seven people, some of whom were looking on in shock as 10 different fire departments backed up the street for at least a mile, working to try to contain the fire and put it out.

"It's a really old house. There's no insulation, slapboard walls, cheaply made ... It wasn't made to survive a fire," said Adam Schroen, one of the family members that was living in the house.

Article Photos

Photo by Amanda Dedie
A number of local fire departments worked over six hours to extinguish a family home on Ellicott Road in Portland on Feb. 11. The home is unsalvageable.

As for a cause of fire, there isn't one yet. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

"It was accidental, possibly hot ashes from the woodstove, but that's not a definite cause yet," said Darren McIntyre, chief of the Portland Fire Department. "There was nobody home. (Someone had) just left the house moments before. Maybe it was a neighbor that called it in, but we just got the alarm."

"Right now we don't know (what happened)," said Andrew Sissen, another family member. "There's a pellet stove in the back of the house, but we don't know yet if that was the cause of the fire."

When asked how everyone had been staying calm thus far, considering their current situation, Schroen said, "Well, we just got back from our father's funeral, so ..." he trailed off.

Within the first two hours, the house was touch-and-go for awhile, giving off the impression that the fire was dying down, only for it to travel to a different area of the house. After the two hours had passed, the entire house was engulfed in flames. National Grid paid the house a visit, cutting power to the house before everyone in the grid lost power.

The fire department received the call at 4 p.m., and got back to the station around 10 p.m. - a six-hour call resulting in the loss of a home.

"It's a total loss, but what are we going to do? The water supply was working against us - we had a hard time getting enough water, and the wind was working against us," said McIntyre. "We'll probably get called out for a re-kindle in the middle of the night. The whole back of the house is in the basement now."

The family, however, is safe.

"Our family has been here for years and years," said Sissen. "We know half the people on this block alone. We have friends and family in the area we can stay with - how can we not? We know practically everybody in town."

Responding fire departments included Portland, Brocton, city of Dunkirk, East Dunkirk, West Dunkirk, Fredonia, Mayville, Stockton and Westfield.



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