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Fatal 3 Alarm Fire Guts Home Across From New Rochelle City Hall, 1 Dead, 3 Injured

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Fatal 3 Alarm Fire Guts Home Across From New Rochelle City Hall, 1 Dead, 3 Injured

July 18, 2016 - 05:28
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UPDATE: The missing person, identified as Loretta Wood, 55, died in the fire. The cause of death is under investigation.

Video File (8 minutes, raw footage with NRFD scanner traffic)

Video File 2 (9 minutes, raw footage with NRFD scanner traffic, and additional footage of firefighters sifting debris in second floor bedroom)

We suggest you watch video 2.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- One woman is dead and two were injurered after a Three-Alarm fire ripped through a house across from New Rochelle City Hall shortly before midnight Sunday.

The woman who died as been identified as Loretta Wood, 55, a New Rochelle resident who lived the location of the fire. City spokesperson Kathy Gilwit said the last fire fatality in New Rochelle was April 2008.

Three people were injured, one firefighter with smoke inhalation and two occupants of the house who were injured in an attempt to flee the smoke and flames. All three were taken to Montefiore Hospital in New Rochelle.

The New Rochelle Fire Department responded to a call for a structure fire at 10 Hamilton Avenue at 11:41 p.m. The call was made by New Rochelle Police. By the time they NRFD responded the house was fire was fully engaged.

"It’s unusual to have that much fire without anybody recognizing it," said NRFD Chief John Reed. "Especially that early in the evening."

There was a partial building collapse towards rear of house and a second partial building collapse near the front of the house.

Two people were initially reported as unaccounted for. One person was later determined to have not been at home at time of fire. A second person is still missing. Family members outside the house are distraught.

There were four occupants in the home according to fire officials. Two self-evacuated with assistance from NRPD. One was determined to be at another locaiton. Reed would only say that one person remained unaccounted for as of 3:30 a.m. The Westchester County Medical Examimer was on scene briefly but left as firefighters continued to search the second floor bedrooms which was covered in debris after the 3rd floor collapsed completely on to the second floor.

The fire began on the first floor. The cause of the fire was unknown. 

"New Rochelle Fire Department has very aggressive fire fighters they did a tremendous job and made every effort to gain initial entry into the building to confirm everybody was out, there was just too much fire," said Reed.  "We tried to transition to continue the search there was too much fire we had to back out." 

UPDATE: Statement from New Rochelle Police Department

Fatal House Fire - 10 Hamilton Ave, New Rochelle, New York

At approximately 11:41 pm on July 17, 2016, New Rochelle Police, Fire, and ambulance personnel responded to 10 Hamilton Ave on a report of a house fire. Upon arrival officers observed that the three=story home was fully engulfed in flames and heard people inside yelling for help.

Officers were able to call to two male occupants, and told them follow the officers' voices to the opposite side of the house. Once there officers had the men climb onto the roof and then onto a nearby tree. The two males were then able to jump approximately ten feet to the ground into the arms of the officers. Both males were treated by ambulance personnel, and taken to a nearby hospital, one suffering from burns to his hands and feet. Fire personnel battled the fire for several hours before bringing it under control.

A search of the house revealed that a third occupant, a 55 year old female, was deceased inside a second floor bedroom. She has been identified as Loretta Wood; the cause of her death is under investigation.

N.R.F.D. Arson investigators, the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office and police detectives are investigating the cause of tho fire; however it docs not appear to be suspicious at this time. The investigation is active and on-going.

Anyone with information is urged to call the N.R.P.O. General Investigation's Unit at 914·654-2270.