ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Wednesday, September 7, 2022.

Fatal high-rise fire on Seneca Manor Drive in Rochester

One person is dead after a high-rise fire in Rochester.

Firefighters were called to the Hudson Ridge Towers on Seneca Manor Drive around 7:00 p.m. Tuesday. Crews saw heavy smoke pouring from the back of the building.

Because of the size of the building, firefighters called 16 fire companies to the scene. They found the fire on the 11th floor, and were able to put it out within about 20 minutes.

Firefighters say the man who died was able to make it out of the apartment where the fire started, but succumbed to injuries he received as a result of the fire. That person’s identity has not been released.

No one else was injured.

Firefighters on scene did speak about the difficulty of keeping residents safe while they dealt with the flames.

“When the alarm goes off, everyone wants to get out of the building, which is understandable,” said Rochester Fire Department Captain David Abdoch. “In a high-rise fire, it’s a little different. If you’re on the fire floor, it’s a shelter-in-place type situation where you close your door, maybe put a towel under your door so smoke doesn’t come into your apartment, but fire and heat goes up, so the apartments that are really in trouble are the apartments above that fire.”

According to the Red Cross, staff members are assisting 18 people with housing.

Rochester General Hospital sees increase in ‘diversion status’ in recent years

Rochester General Hospital’s Emergency Department has recently had to go on “diversion status,” an operational tool described as a previously rare occurrence, but one that’s becoming more frequent. 

“Diversion status is basically our communication to EMS or emergency medical services or the ambulance corps that we are currently at the hospital is currently in volume-overload in the emergency department and it is incredibly difficult to take more incoming patients at that time,” said Dr. Keith Grams, Chair of Emergency Medicine with Rochester Regional Health.  

“Unfortunately in 2020 and 2021 and the beginning of 2022 we’ve seen that happen a few times… I think we’re about six or so. Again it’s something that is our last-ditch effort to try to get a little bit of a breather,” Dr. Grams said.

During these scenarios, the priority for everyone involved is the safety of the patient. 

While not ideal, it may be the only option, but also creates a very fragile situation. 

“We’re relying on team members and we’re relying on nursing staff to take care of patients in the hospital. Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to staff all our beds right now so we’ll have a number of beds that are off-line and again rationing out rolling downhill where all those patients that could be in a hospital bed are stuck in the emergency department,” Dr. Grams said.  

The reason behind the more recent uptick in the status, according to Dr. Grams, is due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The number one right now is actually just hospital capacity, so we are dealing with almost like a new epidemic afterward where the ability to staff all hospital beds has grown incredibly challenging,” he explained. 

The hospital official also emphasizes they will still see you at the ER during an emergency; they won’t turn people away. But it does affect wait times for those not in need of more urgent attention. 

“For those folks coming in with acute sicknesses, we’re generally very good. We’ll still get you in quickly we’ll get the heart attack taken care of the stroke taken care of that type of thing. For folks that are moderately sick, unfortunately, that means that their waits are going to be a little bit longer and we do very creative solutions to get you the care you need,” Dr. Grams said. 

“We will use any space, nook, and cranny that we can add. Our teams do an amazing job working with the resources that they have available to try to get that patient the best care possible given the resources that they do have,” he added. 

News 8 will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as it develops. 

‘Here to make a difference’: 3 RCSD graduates coming back to district as employees

The start of the new school year is like wiping a slate clean and starting fresh for both teachers and students alike. However, for three Rochester City School District employees, this year, it means even more.

Zanayia Hercules, Rosheada Davis, and Courtney Jackson-Troupe are all new to RCSD this school year. However, what makes their journey’s even more impactful is that they are all RCSD graduates.

“To be at the school that I graduated from and to become a teacher, it’s the highest civic honor,” Davis said.

Davis is a seventh-grade English teacher at Franklin High School and said she’s excited to connect with students who are just like her.

“Because I do come from the same neighborhoods that they live in, and I have grown through a lot of the experiences and adversity that they face, I think that I’ll definitely be an asset to their life regarding being a positive impact,” Davis said.

Courtney Jackson-Troupe is an incoming school social worker at Northeast High and said she always knew she would be coming back to the district.

“Having been a youth in the Rochester City School District, I feel a responsibility to give back what I received,” Jackson-Troupe said.

Jackson-Troupe said there’s a “negative narrative about city school district students” and says she wants to change that narrative.

“This narrative that the children here are broken, or come here broken and need to be fixed. Our scholars don’t need that. Our scholars need support. They need educational nurturance. And I want to be a part of changing that,” Jackson-Troupe said.

Zanayia Hercules is an incoming music teacher at Helen Barrett Montgomery School No. 50 and said beyond teaching, her goal is to give students a safe space.

“If they’re worried about getting hurt, or violence or anything that has to do with outside things, my job is to make sure that they know that they’re loved,” Hercules said.

Hercules said when she was a student, the district didn’t have the best reputation which is exactly why she came back.

“Not only did those teachers give me the opportunity, I had no choice but to be in the RCSD. So just like these students that are here now have that same ‘no choice’ as I did, I should be able to do the same thing that my teachers did. Forget the fears. Forget all that. I’m here to make a difference,” Hercules said.

Rochester City School District classes kick off Wednesday, September 7.

Timothy Granison, estranged husband of former Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, sentenced for selling cocaine

Timothy Granison, the estranged husband of former Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, was sentenced to serve 32 months in prison Tuesday for selling drugs.

According to prosecutors, Granison, 43, was a member of a crack and cocaine drug ring that operated out of a home on Glenwood Avenue in the city. They say Granison got large quantities of cocaine from a high-level supplier, then sold the drugs to his own customers.

Prosecutors say Granison was caught in a May 19, 2021 telephone call talking about a cocaine re-supply happening sometime that afternoon. Investigators followed Granison until a second man, Dkeidron Dublin, got into his car, at which point the two were arrested.

Police found 31 grams of cocaine while searching Granison’s car and home.

Granison pleaded guilty in April. Dublin was sentenced to 72 months in prison in March.

Investigators also found a pistol and rifle in the home Granison shared with then-Mayor Lovely Warren. Their daughter was alone in the home at the time of the search.

Warren and Granison were each charged with criminal possession of a firearm and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, along with two counts of failure to lock/secure firearms in a dwelling.

Those charges against Warren were resolved when she accepted a plea deal related to campaign finance violations. That plea deal forced Warren to resign, though she had already lost her primary election.

In July, Granison was found guilty on the state charge of child endangerment and two counts of failure to secure a firearm in a dwelling. He was acquitted on the criminal possession of a firearm charge and the other count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Seneca Orchards closing its doors after 50 years

A popular apple tree orchard farm in the Seneca Castle area has closed its doors for good.

Seneca Orchards announced it will be permanently closing on Facebook Sunday.

The local destination was established 50 years ago by owner Charles “Bud” Smith, who went on to plant the orchard’s first series of apple trees in 1974 and made his first sale four years after that.

Seneca Orchards was known for its unique landscape of farmland and variety of pears.

Although the owners of the farm have yet to provide a reason behind the closing, the business’s website says “we made a difficult decision to permanently close, we will miss you all.”

Weather forecast: Stuck on Groundhog Day as temperatures hold in the 60s

We’re in the midst of an impressive stretch of stagnant weather. Stagnant isn’t always a bad thing, particularly when that weather is warm and pleasant. That’s not the case however.