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Crews begin demolition of apartment after massive fire in Rochester

Local News

Workers have begun tearing down an apartment building on Thurston Road in Rochester after a five-alarm fire tore through the building.

It took hours before crews were able to call the fire under control. Even as of 5 p.m., crews said small fires continued to burn.

Firefighters were called to the fire at 440 Thurston just before 8:22 a.m. and quickly called in extra crews. Within 20 minutes, firefighters struck a fifth alarm.

News 8’s team at the scene spotted large flames shooting from the structure.

Firefighters say 9 people were inside the building when flames broke out. We’re told everyone made it out safely. However, one person was hospitalized for injuries.

We’re told a firefighter was also hurt when he fell through a floor. He was taken to the hospital for treatment as well.

The apartment building was owned by Thurston Road Realty, the company run by Peter Hungerford — the landlord from New York City who was sued by the City of Rochester earlier this year over a number of code violations.

According to city records, 440 Thurston Road was cited several times for violations, but none related to fire prevention. Other properties owned by Hungerford, including 447 Thurston Road, faced a multitude of violations including ones for missing smoke alarms and pest infestations, according to the City of Rochester lawsuit.

Tenants at 447 Thurston Road organized a rent strike in March, calling on Hungerford to fix issues.​ The city says now, however, that Hungerford has sold the property.

The Red Cross says it will provide assistance to the families displaced by the fire.

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