Stubborn Fire Razes Home In Middlefield

Stubborn Fire Razes

Home In Middlefield

Smoke, Flames Still Visible Today

Smoke and flames were still visible at dusk today after fire gutted a Middlefield Center home yesterday afternoon. (JIm Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Smoke and flames were still visible at dusk today after fire gutted a Middlefield Center home yesterday afternoon. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com

The Greek Revival portico and brick chimney were all that remained.
The Greek Revival portico and brick chimney were all that remained.

MIDDLEFIELD CENTER – A Federal/Greek Revival home – “probably the most historic home in the hamlet,” according to local historian David Petri, Town of Hartwick – caught fire at mid-afternoon yesterday, and a large plume of smoke and flames below the foundation line are still visible this afternoon.

“Flames were leaping out of the roof,” said neighbor Mary Quinn, who lives across the street from 3138 Route 33, owned by Dorothy Newsom since the 1980s.  Only the portico and a tall brick chimney were standing at dusk today.

The Cooperstown Fire Department, which responded to the tone at 1:42 p.m. Tuesday, arrived at the scene to heavy smoke and fire coming out of the east end of the house – the left side, looking at it from Route 33, according to Fire Chief Jim Tallman, who was in command at the scene.

Firefighters tried to gain entry by kicking in a door, but the house was so full of contents they couldn’t enter and fight the fire at its origin, Tallman said.  “Finally, I made the determination the only way to put that fire out was to let it burn itself out,” said the chief.
Traffic along Route 33 at Middlefield Center slowed at dusk today, as drivers alerted by the thick smoke sought to determine what was going on.
Traffic along Route 33 at Middlefield Center slowed at dusk today, as drivers alerted by the thick smoke sought to determine what was going on.

 The blaze is under investigation, but it’s cause may never be determined, he said.

Newsom, according to neighbors, also owns a house on Springfield Hill Road, which begins across the street and slightly further on Route 33, and was staying there.  She was on site this afternoon, but was too upset to discuss what had happened.

According to Petri, the house was built by a Samuel Huntington, probably in the 1820s, who had moved here from Canterbury, Conn., a few years earlier.   His son, Samuel Gates Huntington, who also lived in the house, established a shoe-last factory along Red Creek in the dip about a quarter-mile down Spring Hill Road.

Newsom bought the home from Ted Harbison, a lawyer with offices in Cherry Valley, whose mother had been a Huntington.

Tallman said he released the mutual aid companies at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, but a Cooperstown crew stayed at the scene overnight, spelled by others this morning.   He withdrew the remaining firefighters at 1:03 this afternoon.

Assisting at the scene were fire companies from Cherry Valley, Springfield, Fly Creek, Middlefield, Hartwick and Hartwick Seminary.


One thought on “Stubborn Fire Razes Home In Middlefield

  1. Becky Burby-Straubel

    So sad Dottie is a very nice lady with a huge heart for her rescued dogs, I was her substitute newspaper carrier and she would come out and greet me when she could. She is a diamond in the rough for sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.