A 52-year-old Genesee County man remained in Erie County Medical Center’s Burn Intensive Care Unit on Monday, one day after his feet fell through the roof of his home as he tried to fight a chimney fire.
Gerald Ryder, of 1270 Bloomingdale Road, Alabama, was listed in fair condition in that unit, with burns to his hands and feet suffered in the fall.
“The homeowner was attempting to extinguish the chimney fire on his own, and he didn’t realize the magnitude of the fire,” Alabama Fire Chief Gary Patnode said.
The wind-whipped flames made it very difficult for firefighters from 10 local volunteer companies to battle the blaze, which was reported at 6:50 a.m. Sunday.
The home was destroyed, although the roughly 40 firefighters on the scene managed to save a three-car garage and a common area between the garage and the house, the fire chief said.
Ryder, his girlfriend, a dog and one cat got out of the home safely, but several cats died in the fire, authorities said.