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OPD Probes Possible Arson

On Salvation Army Vehicle

Major Sharon Harford, of the Oneonta Salvation Army, stands with the melted bins at the back of the Salvation Army Emergency Services Vehicle, which was the scene of a possible arson on New Year's Eve. (Ian Austin/
Maj. Sharon Harford, commander of the Salvation Army’s Oneonta post, stands with the melted bins at the back of the Salvation Army Emergency Services Vehicle, the scene of a possible arson on New Year’s Eve. (Ian Austin/

 By LIBBY CUDMORE • Exclusive

ONEONTA – City police are investigating a fire that damaged the Salvation Army canteen truck in the driveway of Maj. Sharon Harford late on New Year’s Eve.

“At about three in the morning on New Year’s, I heard someone ringing my doorbell,” she said.  “I didn’t answer, and the next day, I saw that several plastic crates had been tossed out and there were burn marks on the ground.”

Police investigated and believed that someone broke into the back of the locked van and accidentally started the fire, possibly by lighting a candle.  A book of matches and a lighter were taken as evidence, and one corner of the van showed considerable damage.  

The vehicle, which will now need to be towed and refurbished, is used during disasters to feed workers.  “It serves the community,” said Harford,  “It is very much needed.”

Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Oneonta Police, (607) 432-1113


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