April 24, 2013


Family homeless after C’ville fire

Grease fire in kitchen spreads throughout Fisher Avenue home

FamilyBob Ellis/staff photographer
Cortlandville firefighter James Copeland chops through a second-story window Tuesday morning to vent smoke from a house fire on Fisher Avenue.

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — A single-family home on Fisher Avenue was severely damaged by fire and smoke Tuesday morning, leaving its eight inhabitants temporarily homeless.
The call came in to the Cortlandville Fire Department at 10:33 a.m., beginning as a reported grease fire before additional units were called to assist.
Cortlandville Fire Chief Gerald Henry said it spread quickly.
“The fire got in the walls and went right through,” he said while coordinating efforts at the scene. “We’ve been chasing hot spots.”
The cause is still being investigated, but homeowner Joseph Jones said his wife was at home and cooking on the stove when the fire began. Jones came home from his job at Time Buyer, a used car business, to make sure his wife was OK and inspect the damage.
“We just got it last year,” he said of owning the brown two-story house. Jones lives there with his wife and six children, the eldest of whom is 11.
No one was injured, but the status of a number of animals was uncertain. Jones said three cats, a rabbit, guinea pig and a gerbil which just had a litter also called the place home.
Jones said he had been waiting for this year’s tax return to buy insurance for the home, but despite filing in February has not received it. He said he was not sure what he would do next.
“I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m going to take it day-by-day,” he said.
By about 11:30 a.m., the heaviest smoke had subsided and the fire appeared under control. The house was left standing, but will require substantial interior renovation to repair the damage.
Cortlandville, Cortland, Homer and Dryden fire departments were on the scene, with units from Groton, McLean and McGraw on standby for the fire. National Grid employees were on site to cut the power to the residence for the safety of the firefighters, who approached the burning building from the front and back doors.
The home’s front door and entrance way were blackened and much of the inside appeared smoldering. Flames erupted from the rear of the structure around the back deck for a short time before being stifled by firefighters. One responder with a chainsaw and axe cut a hole in the roof so billowing smoke could rise and escape the home.
The assessed value of the house, located at 1280 Fisher Ave., is $79,600, according to the county Real Property Tax Services Office. Jones’s wife, Stacy, is listed as the owner.


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