November 8, 2008


Blaze destroys Truxton rental property


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer  
Area firefighters take turns battling a house fire Friday on Bells Mills Road in Truxton. The house was considered a “total loss.”

Staff Reporter

TRUXTON — Firefighters from six departments extinguished a fire that destroyed a two-story wooden frame house Friday.
Volunteers from the Truxton Fire Department arrived at the house at 4037 Bells Mills Road at about 11:55 a.m. Firefighters from Cuyler, DeRuyter, Homer, Apulia and Tully assisted at the scene.
“When we got here, there was heavy fire blowing through the (middle) floor section,” Cortland County Deputy Fire Coordinator Kevin Whitney said.
The total assessed value of the structure is $58,800, according to the Cortland County Real Property Tax Services.
Whitney called the house a “total loss.”
The house had been unoccupied and empty, and property owner Wade Sprouse said he had been doing some remodeling work on the roof of the house, which he rents out. He was not inside at the time of the fire.
He said no one was renting the house, which he has owned for about 13 years.
Sprouse said he was eating lunch at his 3920 Bells Mills Road residence, when his mother called him and said she saw smoke coming from the house, which was down the street.
Firefighters were dispatched and a National Grid crew arrived before the firefighters to cut off electricity to the house.
Whitney said the first floor ceiling had caved in because the fire was concentrated in the center of the house. This made it impossible to put any firefighters inside safely, he added.
Instead, firefighters climbed up an adjoining porch, which they stood on as they put out the flames inside.
Firefighters were able to contain a pocket of flame inside a back corner of the house, which was concentrated inside a corner where the roof met the wall.
Whitney said none of the hoses could douse that portion directly because there was no opening for the water to get through and it was on the second level.
“Our biggest frustration is that the structure is so unstable, there’s no way for us to operate inside,” Whitney said as firefighters worked to extinguish the flames.
A ladder truck from Homer Fire Department arrived at about 1:10 p.m., allowing firefighters to break the roof open and extinguish the fire’s remains.
Whitney said it was unknown what caused the fire, adding it would probably be very difficult to determine.


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