OLEAN, NY — Improperly discarded smoking material was the cause of a fire that left one person dead and sent another to a hospital on Wednesday, the City of Olean Fire and Police Department's Fire Investigation Team reported Monday.
The fire at 1617R Avenue B spread quickly throughout the structure because health oxygen cylinders were located near the origin of the fire, the team wrote in a news release. The firefighters originally had been dispatched to 1617 E. Fall Road.
The release identified the deceased victim of blaze as Michele A. McRae, 53. The injured person, a man, was treated at the Erie County Medical Center and released. His name is being withheld because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act policies, according to the release.
The cause of the fire was determined from interviews, witness statements, statements of the first arriving firefighters and burn pattern analysis.
According to a fire department release issued the day after the fire, the entire first floor of the 21/2 storey, wood-frame structure was on fire, and flames were moving to the second floor, and possibly the attic, when firefighters arrived at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday. As crews were attempting to enter the building, the front porch collapsed.
Firefighters attempted to use a window to rescue McRae, who was trapped on the first floor, but she had already succumbed to injuries from smoke and fire.
The structure will be demolished, according to the news release.
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