ROME, N.Y. ---- A Rome man could face criminal charges after a fire broke out at the Madison Plaza apartments in Rome on Sunday.
The Rome Fire Department said 39-year-old Shawn Fitzgerald fought with firefighters when they tried to rescue him from his burning apartment on the 7th floor.
The fire broke out just before noon on Sunday. Tenants report seeing smoke coming from the 7th-floor apartment. Tenant Remington Sumner said he ran to try and get as many people out as he could. He even tried getting into Fitzgerald's apartment to try and help. But the Rome Fire Department said it was barricaded shut.
"We couldn't get his door open and we had the fire extinguishers ready. I don't know how it got so bad so fast. The smoke filled up so fast we were getting as many people out as we could. We just eventually had to get out of there because the smoke got so bad," said Sumner.
When the fire department arrived, they tried using their ladder truck to rescue Fitzgerald. However, Fitzgerald began fighting with firefighters and throwing things at them and into the fire.
Rome fire Lt. Scott Bush then rapelled from the roof of the building, onto the balcony, and detained Fitzgerald with a ladder rope. Once the fire was out, he was escorted through the apartment and handed over to Rome Police.
The American Red Cross is assisting the 3 individuals displaced with food, shelter and clothing. The Red Cross as well as building management are assisting the residents of between 6 to 10 apartments in relocating due to damage. The Fire Department said Fitzgerald suffered minor burns to his arm. There were no other reported injuries.
The Fire Department expects the cause of the fire to be determined within the next 48 hours.