Weekly Feature



2013-10-09 / Front Page

Town man dies after setting fire to home

Human remains found in basement of residence after fire on Fries Road
by DARLENE M. DONOHUE
Editor


Hollywood Hollywood Police officials confirmed Monday evening that detectives found the remains of a man who had set fire to his Fries Road home on Monday morning.

(See editorial on page four)

“Investigators have confirmed that the body of Joseph Hollywood has been found in the basement on the floor of the home at 163 Fries Road. Autopsy results concluded that smoke inhalation was the cause of death,” said Police Lt. Nick Bado.

Fire crews responded at 9:15 a.m. Monday, to the report of a blaze at 163 Fries Road in the Town of Tonawanda, but they were unable to immediately put out the flames because there was a man inside who allegedly had a gun.

Residents nearby claimed they had heard gunfire coming from inside the home before police arrived at the scene.

“We were told to stand down and let it burn,” said Brighton Fire Chief Chris Tracey, adding that he was able to see only a billow of smoke floating over the home while his crews were stationed at Mayfield Drive.


Town of Tonawanda police cars block access to Fries Road near Eggert Road as the home at 163 Fries burned, sending 50-foot flames and heavy amounts of smoke into the air on Monday morning. 
Photo by David F. ShermanPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Town of Tonawanda police cars block access to Fries Road near Eggert Road as the home at 163 Fries burned, sending 50-foot flames and heavy amounts of smoke into the air on Monday morning. Photo by David F. ShermanPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com “This one is certainly one for the Brighton history books,” he said, adding that it’s the first time fire companies were told not to attack a fire the moment they arrived at the scene.

The reason for the delay, said Bado, was for safety reasons. He said that last year’s fire in Webster, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester, during which firefighters were intentionally shot at by a male gunman who was in a burning home, prompted the police to tell emergency personnel to use caution in this case.

“We didn’t want any of our firemen to get killed,” Bado said.

He said police were uncertain if Hollywood, 60, who resided at the home, was still in the residence at the time of the fire.


A Town of Tonawanda SWAT Team member stands guard on Eggert Road while the home at 163 Fries Road burns in the background. 
Photo by David F. ShermanPurchase color photos atwww.BeeNews.com A Town of Tonawanda SWAT Team member stands guard on Eggert Road while the home at 163 Fries Road burns in the background. Photo by David F. ShermanPurchase color photos atwww.BeeNews.com Bado said police had responded to the home that morning after a woman called 911 to report that Hollywood had threatened to kill her. He said the case was initially treated as a domestic violence issue.

“She said, ‘He’s going to kill me’ and that he was the one who set fire to the home,” said Bado, adding that dispatchers said they could hear a man yelling in the background before the call got disconnected.

Bado said the woman was able to flee the home.

The lieutenant also noted that police have arrested Hollywood several times during the past 10 years.

“He has a record — anything from larceny to domestic violence,” said Bado.

Once fire crews were able to access the site, there wasn’t much left of the structure, said the fire chief.

Tracey said his crews attacked the roaring flames from the Mayfield side of the home, dousing water on the structure using an aerial truck. He said it took about five hours for the firefighters to ensure that the area was fire- and smoke-free. The fire chief said the home was a total loss. He guessed that there was $300,000 in damage.

Firefighters and police weren’t the only ones affected by the incident.

With Kenmore East High School less than five blocks from the scene, the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District enacted its building lockdown procedures; which kept individuals from entering and exiting the building.

The lockdown was lifted in the late morning but then reinstated soon after and remained in place until 3 p.m. since police were unable to locate Hollywood.

“It was believed that he was dead inside the home, but we didn’t know for sure until investigators were able to get inside the home,” said Bado.

Hollywood was a roofer by trade and a graduate of Kenmore East.

email: ddonohue@beenews.com

Return to top