March 20, 2009


Early morning fire damages Cortland Motel

MotelPhoto provided by Gary McEuen
Flames shoot from the office of the Cortland Motel early this morning as firefighters battle the blaze.

Staff Reporter

POLKVILLE — Authorities are tying to determine the cause of a fire that damaged part of the Cortland Motel this morning.
The fire, which is thought to have began in the boiler room of the one-story motel at 3832 Route 11, destroyed the middle section of the building including the office and eight tenant rooms.
Firefighters said it was not believed to be suspicious.
Cortland and Cortlandville firefighters were called in at about 3:40 this morning and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the motel’s office roof when they arrived.
Using a ladder truck, firefighters dumped water through the office roof and brought the fire under control within an hour.
There were 18 tenants in the motel, all of whom were immediately evacuated and no injuries were reported. They were given aid by the Cortland County Red Cross.
Motel owner Yumei Li, 48, said he and his wife, Lianyue Li, awoke at about 3:30 this morning to heavy smoke in their bedroom, which adjoins the office section of the motel.
Li said he and his wife made sure their tenants evacuated and they dialed 911.
The motel building is worth $204,800, according to the Cortland County Real Property Tax Service.
Firefighters estimated $100,000 worth of damage to the motel and said this morning it probably cannot be reoccupied.
The roof above the office collapsed from the fire hose pressure and the adjoining rooms were littered with charred wood debris and fallen insulation.
Firefighters did not believe this morning there were smoke detectors in the motel, which has 35 rooms.
Cortlandville Assistant Fire Chief Jared Gebel said this morning he did not hear smoke detectors when firefighters arrived at the scene, adding he did not check to see if the rooms had smoke detectors.
Citing state fire codes, Cortlandville Code Enforcement Officer Tom Williams said the motel would be required to have detectors in all sleeping areas.He would not comment this morning about any potential violations until the fire investigation is completed.
Firefighters from McGraw, Marathon, Homer and Dryden, as well as representatives from the county Fire and Emergency Management Office, state Office of Fire Prevention and Control and county fire investigators were also at the scene.


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