Rochester, N.Y. - Rochester firefighters rescued a woman from a burning home on Westfall Rd. early Friday morning.
Later that day Rochester Animal Control Services and the Humane Society were back out at the home removing more than 25 hens and a few roosters. None of the birds were injured or killed in the fire but for months, if not years, they’ve been the target of criticism from neighbors.
Firefighters say the fire at 148 Westfall Rd. was called in just before 2 a.m. When they arrived at the home, firefighters said the back of the house had heavy smoke and flames billowing out. The woman who lived at the home was found on the porch according to fire officials.
Neighbors tell 13WHAM News that some teenagers who live nearby made heroic efforts to wake this woman up and notify other nearby homeowners before firefighters arrived on the scene. Efforts to locate and talk with those teens on Friday were unsuccessful.
The woman who was rescued was taken to Strong Hospital. Fire officials were unable to confirm her condition on Friday but were initially informed that she suffered non life-threatening injuries.
By Friday afternoon animal control and humane society officers removed the more than two dozen birds from the property, much to the delight of neighbors who have complained about them for some time.
"I have called, called, and called the code office numerous times, I've called 311, I've called the guy from animal control...the roosters literally jump up, they jump over fences if the rooster's get out,” said Marcia Steger who lives a few doors down from 148 Westfall said.
While neighbors wish the best for the woman who remains hospitalized they also wish local authorities had done something sooner to address their complaints.
"It was a public health issue and I've called the Department of Health and I'm not afraid to say this because it's for the well-being of not just me and my children but for the neighbors, for her (the homeowner) for her because she can't barely get around herself,” Steger said.
A City of Rochester spokesman tells 13WHAM News that the woman at that home did have a valid license to keep hens on her property but that it expired at the end of June.
A Rochester Police Department spokeswoman tells 13WHAM News that Animal Control has responded to numerous calls in the past at that home for chickens running loose in the neighborhood.
Neither official had information as to whether the property owner was ever cited for code violations in the past.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.