OSWEGO - A Saturday fire on the west side of the city drew multiple engines and crews to knock down a blaze that inflicted "heavy damage" on the upper area of a multi-family residence.

The 900 block of West Utica Street was closed to traffic for several hours spanning the late morning and early afternoon as the Oswego Fire Department (OFD), along with members of the Minetto and Oswego Town volunteer fire units, used multiple lines to douse the flaring and charred house. The initial report came into emergency services shortly after 11 a.m. from another local first-responding organization: Menter Ambulance.

According to OFD Chief Randy Griffin, a Menter employee was passing the location, saw the situation and radioed for help. The Menter employee then approached the house to assist, Griffin said, and in the process alerted several residents of the immediate need to evacuate.

It took less than 20 minutes for crews to knock down the fire, Griffin said. Despite initial indication that individuals might have been trapped in upper floors of the house, those reports turned out to be false. No residents were injured, but the Menter employee who made the first call was transported for an evaluation from smoke inhalation. Griffin said in the short amount of time his personnel fought the fire, they poured "a tremendous amount of water" into the upper levels of the building, and after extinguishing the fire needed to cut holes in the top floors to allow the water to drain. 

"Any time you're working with potentially trapped occupants, there's a lot of complexity and a lot to do in a short amount of time," Griffin said, taking the opportunity to promote the simple but effective smoke detector. "Early discovery of a fire is so important, and that's why it's critical to have working smoke detectors."

Although the fire is believed to have originated on the third floor, Griffin said the cause was still unknown and under investigation.

A message left Saturday evening for the on-duty supervisor at Menter Ambulance was not immediately returned.

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