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Investigators call vacant building fire suspicious

Rochester, N.Y. - An early morning fire forced one man to jump from a third story window and another person to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were called to a vacant apartment building at 150 University Avenue just before 7 a.m. Wednesday.

"The fireman came around 7 o'clock this morning banging on the door saying we had to evacuate because the building next door was on fire, said Deanna Cubiotti who lives in the apartment building next to the vacant building that caught fire.

When Cubiotti and her husband grabbed their coats and stepped outside, they saw flames and thick smoke that filled the streets.

 It was really scary, Cubiotti said. They were scared that it was gonna collapse so they made us all leave.

There was also a threat inside for firefighters.

Rochester Fire Chief Salvatore Mitrano said crews found hanging wires and debris on the floors.

That, combined with how the building was shaped along with the flames posed a challenge.

The fire spreads very quickly and gets into all these void areas it creates big problems for us, Chief Mitrano said.

13WHAM News has learned that the owner of the building, Salahuddin Malik had been battling the city over repairs to the building.

A demolition hearing was even scheduled for Thursday, but postponed due to Malik's health.

The building had been under renovation for some time, but Mitrano said there wasnt work going on recently, that's why investigators want to know why the man who jumped from the third floor was in it.

He did tell us he had been in the building so we're very interested in what he has to tell us, Mitrano said.

13WHAM News is still waiting for an update from the fire department about what they've learned speaking to that man.

His name has not been released and his injuries are considered to be non-life threatening.

The other person treated for smoke inhalation was not in the building.

The building is scheduled for an emergency demolition because it is not structurally stable.

The Red Cross is providing shelter for residents in the apartment next door.

They cant return to their homes until demolition is over.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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