John Lavarnway Sr. was upstairs in his residence at 44 Market St. Monday afternoon when his son’s nurse, Lori Steiner, saw the flames coming up the side of the home from the porch on the side of the house.
“The nurse came up and told me. At that point, we had to get my son out,” Lavarnway said of his son, John Lavarnway Jr., whom he said is paraplegic.
“He was on his computer. At that time, the porch was fully engulfed. We had to drag him out. The smoke was so intense,” Lavarnway Sr. recalled while standing not too far from the house as firemen looked for hot spots to put out.
While he was standing there with a small group of people, Wyoming County Fire and EMS Coordinator Bill Streicher came up to him to ask if he wanted to accept Red Cross assistance, which Lavarnway Sr. did.
Lavarnway Sr. said the grill he had just used on Saturday was never on and that he didn’t know what would have caused the fire. (continued)
Streicher later said that Lavarnway Jr. was taken to United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia as a precaution and for treatment of existing injuries. The younger Lavarnway didn’t suffer any serious injuries as a result of the fire, Streicher said.
“He had a couple of minor injuries — not from the fire, from getting him out,” the fire and EMS coordinator said at the scene.
The call about the fire came in at 4:31 p.m. A vehicle Lavarnway Sr. had was towed away from the scene with very little damage to it, but Lavarnway Sr. said, “The only thing I’m concerned about is my son.”
At the command post across the street from the home, Streicher said the Red Cross had been informed of the need for assistance for the residents. He was waiting for a call back early Monday evening.
Firefighters from Attica, Bennington, Cowlesville, Alexander, the town of Batavia, Alden, Wyoming Correctional, Wyoming and Darien responded to the scene. Varysburg and Harris Corners firefighters were on standby. Attica Fire Chief Jay Myers said when firefighters pulled around the corner onto Market Street, there was heavy fire showing from the rear, from the porch area.
“We also had a report of two people injured. Dispatch also started an additional paramedic ambulance and another ambulance to assist if necessary,” he said. When he got on scene, two people were on the front lawn of the house next door.
“We were told that it was just two people and everybody was out of the house upon arrival,” Myers said. “We got an automatic second alarm, so we had additional manpower coming.
The biggest problem is lack of personnel. People just don’t volunteer like they used to, so we were strapped for manpower for a little while, until the surrounding departments got here, when we could start getting more hand lines and more of an interior attack going.”
Asked how long it took to get the fire under control, Myers said Monday evening, “I’d say at least a good hour or so, by the time we got the hand lines in there, they were starting to knock it down. Right now, the biggest problem is overhauling and the hot spots that are still burning.”