Baldwinsville At 2:02 a.m. this morning, a call was received at the 911 Center from Larry Gillette, 54, of 208 Conifer Drive, Baldwinsville. Gillette initially indicated that he was having difficulty breathing and it was then determined by the call-taker that there was actually a fire occurring in Gillette’s apartment.
Members of the Baldwinsville Police Department, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police immediately responded to the scene. Officers forcibly gained entry into Gìllette’s apartment, but were unable to reach Gillette as they had to turn back due to the severity of the flames and smoke. They also went to the rear of the apartment and attempted to gain access to an upstairs window, but could not due to the height of the window. The officers were able to remove all 11 other residents of the adjacent apartments within the 200 building.
Members of the Baldwinsville Fire Department then arrived on scene and made entry into Gillette’s apartment and were able to remove him from the fire. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Members of the Onondaga County Fire Cause & Origin Team investigated the incident and the results indicate that Gillette had recently applied linseed oil on the stairs of his apartment. Based on the investigation, it appears that the rags and cloths that were used to apply the oil were not disposed of properly, having been placed in a closet inside the apartment where they spontaneously ignited, causing the fire.
There was heavy damage to the structure at 200 Conifer Drive and all of the other 11 residents have been displaced from their residences. Members of the Red Cross responded to the scene to assist in providing shelter for the residents, many of whom are elderly.
A member of the Baldwinsville Police Department was injured during the incident and was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where they were treated and released.