Fatal fire remains under investigation

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Four adults were killed in a large fire on Rome-Oriskany Road in the city’s outer district late Tuesday night.

The identities of the four adults have not yet been released. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the fire at 7736 Route 69. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, authorities stated.

“The house is completely collapsed into the basement,” said Rome Fire Chief Thomas Iacovissi. He noted that it could take several days for a cause to be determined, if a cause can be determined at all.

The alarm was raised by a neighbor across the street shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

“Half of the building was fully involved” when firefighters arrived on the scene, Chief Iacovissi stated. The residence was a one-story ranch-style dwelling.

Multiple firefighters launched an attack on the flames, while another crew made entry into the front and back of the residence to reach two bedrooms still untouched by fire. Iacovissi said that neighbors told them four people lived at the residence.

Two people were found in the untouched bedrooms and were brought outside, officials said, but the pair were already dead.

Within minutes, the roof on the burned side of the home collapsed, officials said. All firefighters exited the residence, and the roof on the untouched side also soon collapsed. Fire officials said they then continued an exterior-only attack on the fire.

“At that point, it was just trying to extinguish the fire to try to get to the other victims we thought were in there,” the chief stated.

The flames took more than an hour to get knocked down, authorities said. Firefighters worked throughout the night to chase down hot spots still in the home. The other two bodies were eventually discovered and removed.

The Sheriff’s Office said on Wednesday they are working to identify the bodies and notify the next of kin. The Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office is involved.

Fire crews remained on scene Wednesday with some parts of the home still smoldering.

No firefighters were hurt during the battle.

“It’s tough on us every time we lose someone in a fire, especially this time of year,” Chief Iacovissi stated. He said the firefighters are coping, and professional help will be made available to them if needed.

The chief said one family pet is believed to have survived, but two more are missing and are believed to have been inside the home.

Fire officials said there was some difficulty with water because the home is at the edge of Rome’s water district. The Stanwix Heights Volunteer Fire Department assisted with tankering water to the scene. The Westmoreland Fire Department was on standby.

Iacovissi also noted that there was a lot of clutter inside the home, but that did not hamper firefighting or rescue efforts.

“It certainly gives you more fire load in the house, more stuff to burn,” the chief stated. “Whether it causes the fire to burn faster, it’s hard to say.”

The residence is located near Monument Road in the city’s outer district, a short distance from the Oriskany Battlefield Historical Site.

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