Alexander, N.Y. – The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate what caused a Sunday night house fire and how a man inside that home died.
Scott Cramer, 47, was house sitting while the homeowner battles health problems in the hospital. His body was found about 15 feet inside the front door of the Sandpit Road home.
A volunteer firefighter noticed the fire as he was driving by the home and called 911. Seeing that a rescue would be difficult he raced up the road to the fire hall and returned with a truck.
"He noticed the fire and he stopped and got the address and tried to do whatever he could of course, he couldn't get inside being smokey and all so he headed to the hall to get the truck and when I arrived on scene we had a good fire going," Assistant Fire Chief Paul Hirsch explained. "We didn't know at the time if anybody was in there or not but it was unfortunate (when) we did gain entry and there was somebody in there."
The fire itself was easy to knock down according to Hirsch and others at the scene that night.
Cramer was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A neighbor had tried to help. "I was hoping he was outside and when I didn't see him outside, I started hollering for him,” said Grant Whitmore. “I tried to knock the flames down and I couldn't knock them down. They flared right back up."
Investigators said the cause of the fire appears to be electrical but remains under investigation. How Cramer died is also being looked at in the investigation.
"We figure maybe he was trying to come out, there was only one way in
and one way out, and we thought he probably tried to open the door to come out and he was just overcome by smoke," Hirsch speculated.
Cramer was also looking after the homeowner's cat. The cat went missing during the fire but reappeared on the doorstep of the home Monday morning. It was a brief moment of relief that brought a few smiles to the faces of family and neighbors dealing with the tragedy.