April 08, 2009
Early evening blaze guts Truxton house
Firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire that took about an hour to contain
TRUXTON — A fire severely damaged a home at 3735 Prospect Street Tuesday evening, leaving two people homeless.
The fire that gutted much of the home’s interior was reported to Cortland County emergency officials at 6:10 p.m. It took about an hour to bring it under control, said Truxton Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Potter.
Cortland County Fire and Emergency Management Coordinator Robert Duell said this morning the fire was caused by improper installation of a pipe on a wood stove in the house. He said the fire is believed to be accidental and could not provide further details.
Watching from a distance, one resident of the house, Sandra Mullen, stood in disbelief as firefighters rushed to bring the flames under control.
Standing at the intersection of Main and Prospect streets, Mullen said she was driving home from Syracuse when a neighbor called her, saying her house had caught fire.
Mullen lived in the house with her son, Andre, 17. Next door to Mullen’s home, Bernie Hughes stood outside with family members and watched firefighters clear out interior wreckage. Hughes said he was folding laundry and watching TV in his bedroom when he saw the smoke and then saw Andre Mullen run out of the house.
“Our little dog went nuts and that’s how we knew what was going on,” Hughes said.
The fire caused major damage to the first floor of the two-story home, spreading through the first-floor ceiling into the second-floor, Potter said. Potter said firefighters arrived at about 6:30 and saw heavy smoke coming from the second floor window. Flames could be seen through a first-floor window, he said.
Firefighters entered through the front door of the home and had to use a ladder to reach the second floor because the flames had destroyed the staircase. Although the exterior of the home did not have much damage, the fire left much of the first and second floors gutted and charred.
Clearing through the inside wreckage, firefighters rescued Mullen’s Jack Russell terrier, which had been inside a kennel on the first floor. The dog was uninjured, firefighters said. Mullen and her son were given assistance by the Cortland County Red Cross.
Firefighters at the scene declined to discuss a damage amount until the investigation is completed. The home is assessed for $56,100.
Truxton, Homer, Cuyler, DeRuyter and Fabius firefighters were all at the scene Tuesday.
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