An 86-year-old man was hospitalized Thursday after a wood burner overheated and razed his Rt. 58 home.
Lucio Tammaro’s bungalo, located just north of KFC in uptown Amherst, started pouring smoke around 3:30 p.m.
Assistant fire chief Jim Wilhelm said the problem originated in the home’s basement, where Tammaro had been feeding an old wood heater.
“He overfilled it. It was one of those barrel-type wood burners. He put too much wood in it, it overheated, and it caught the floor joists on fire underneath,” Wilhelm said.
Workers at the restaurant next door spotted a black plume rising and rushed to help Tammaro escape the house. They took him to the safety of KFC and tended to him until help arrived.
Wilhelm said Tammaro, who lived alone, suffered smoke inhalation but appeared unburned. He was taken to University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center for treatment.
Firefighters spent more than four hours knocking down flames, restricting travel on a couple of Rt. 58 lanes.
They also closed the KFC drive-through to accommodate water hoses running to a nearby hydrant. The dining room, however, remained open.
The house was a total loss — deep char to wooden beams, living room floor boards burnt to a crisp, and a collapsed ceiling that buried furniture.
Wilhelm said the structural damage to the tiny home is roughly $50,000 with another $15,000 for lost contents.
The fire appeared completely doused overnight, but fire crews were called back early Friday.
They found a chair that had rekindled and was smoking deep in the rubble and put it out with a water can, Wilhelm said.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Evan Goodenow | Amherst News-Times The home at 411 North Leavitt Road was ruled a total loss after a fire Thursday started in the basement and spread. The homeowner was taken next door to KFC while crews fought the blaze.