Syracuse, NY- On September 17, 2023, at 4:19 a.m., Syracuse Firefighters were alerted by the Onondaga County 911 Center to a reported fire at 132 Lilac Street, on the city’s North Side. When the fire was called in, fire units that would normally respond to this area were already working at the scene of a structure fire on Danforth Street. Engine Company 8, normally stationed on South Salina Street, was relocated to Station 2 on Lodi Street. Firefighters from Engine 8 arrived on the scene at 132 Lilac moments after the dispatch to find a two-and-a-half-story single-family home with heavy fire showing from the back of the structure. A signal ‘99’ was transmitted. There were reports that there was still a person trapped in the building, so crews immediately initiated an aggressive interior attack, stretching hoses into the structure, and dispatching search teams to locate the trapped occupant.
As crews entered the home, they encountered heavy flames and high heat on the first floor. A team of firefighters from Engine 1 advanced a hose to the kitchen area of the first floor and began extinguishing the flames. At the same time, a team of firefighters from the Rescue Company located the stairs to the second floor, where the missing person was reported to be. Crews faced thick, blinding smoke as they climbed the stairway, along with high heat from the fire burning on the first floor. When they reached the landing on the second floor, firefighters heard a person call out for help. Operating on the floor above an active fire, without the protection of a fire hose is an especially dangerous situation. The search team called out to the person, followed his voice, and found him on the second floor. The victim was semi-conscious but was unable to get himself out. Firefighters radioed that they had found the person and began to move him towards the stairs to get him out of the house. The initial search team was assisted by members of other crews, and the victim was removed from the building to a waiting stretcher. The patient was transported to a local hospital and is reported to be in stable condition.
While the rescue was taking place, other crews of firefighters on scene were able to keep the flames in check and extinguished most of the fire. Crews then began checking other parts of the home for fire spread, and extinguished it where needed. The fire took approximately one hour to fully extinguish. This was the second fire in less than an hour for several of the crews that responded. All other occupants of the home were able to escape prior to the fire department’s arrival. One additional person was transported to a local hospital for evaluation after exiting the building on their own.
The home sustained significant fire, smoke, and water damage on the first floor, as well as smoke and heat damage throughout. Syracuse Fire Investigators were on the scene, conducting an investigation into the cause and origin. The fire was determined to have started in the first-floor kitchen and was caused by unattended cooking. There were no injuries reported to firefighters.
A total of 41 fire personnel responded to this incident, including command and support staff, from six different Syracuse Fire stations. This operation was a success thanks to the heroic efforts of all involved. Syracuse Fire Department Ambulance, Syracuse Police, American Medical Response, National Grid, and The American Red Cross also responded to this incident. We thank our partners at the 911 Center, SPD, AMR, National Grid, and the Red Cross.