Whitesboro, N.Y. - The Red Cross is helping four families who lost their homes in a large four unit apartment fire on Clinton Street in Whitesboro Friday night.
A total of 13 people are being aided, five adults and 8 children, and luckily they all made it out safely, thanks in part to a police officer and an honorary firefighter first on the scene.
The Red Cross is helping with health services and financial assistance which can be used for necessities such as shelter, food, and clothing to five adults and eight children, ages 1 to 14. Volunteers will also be available in the coming days to offer emotional support.
Sgt. Jeffrey Kopec with the Whitesboro Police Department is giving a lot of credit for no one suffering injuries in Friday night's fire to an honorary Whitesboro firefighter, Steven Berry, and a fellow officer on the Whitesboro Police Department, Officer Jeffrey Montana, "Since he was close by, because the village is so small, he responded over there right away. When he got there he saw flames and smoke coming out the back of the building. At that time, without hesitation, he jumped out of his car, he was met by one of the firefighters, Steven Berry, they started knocking on all doors letting people know that the house was on fire and they evacuated the first and second floor of the residence and the people had no idea the building was on fire. He went through the front door, you know the first level, he got people out by knocking on the doors and then he climbed up the stairs second floor stairs to get the person on the second floor out. A lot of people didn’t know that the house was on fire so they had to bang on the door pretty loudly just to get them out but I know what’s going on."
State fire investigators were on scene much of the day on Saturday trying to determine a cause.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the four families here.
Sgt. Kopec says he is just happy no one was injured in this fire right in the heart of the village, "Nice thing about having a village have their own Police Department, and a local fire department, we work together and this example last night is perfect a police department and fire department working together to get people out of the building before anybody got hurt."