Reprinted From Today’s Hometown Oneonta, Freeman’s Journal
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
EMMONS – The Otsego County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death of a well-known Oneonta area hairdresser who was found in his rural home late Monday evening alongside the Susquehanna River by firefighters responding to a report of a house on fire.
“He didn’t die before the fire started,” said Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. “And the fire didn’t kill him.”
Though Devlin declined to give the man’s name or cause of death, friends on Facebook confirmed that the deceased man was Robb Polley. He was the owner of Maverick Hair Salon, which he ran out of the home.
In his first-person obituary, submitted by the family to the Bookhout Funeral Home within hours of his passing, he was described as “owner and singing ‘Hair Banger’ of Maverick Hair and Morning Wood Farm.”
“I had many loves and my animals are always first,” read the obituary, which was apparently prepared in anticipation of his passing. “I was privileged to have amazing dogs, cats, horses, cows and chickens and funny guinea fowl.”
At 11:12 p.m. Monday evening, the Oneonta Fire Department began receiving multiple calls via county 911 of a structure fire at 130 Riverstone Road across the Susquehanna and up-river from Emmons. When they arrived, the house was engulfed in flames, and they found a man’s body in the barn.
Coroner Terry Knapp responded and an autopsy was ordered. The case remains open, pending the autopsy and an investigation by the state office of Fire Prevention & Control.
Schenevus, Milford and Pindars Corners firemen provided mutual aid, and crews were at the scene until 4 a.m. the next morning.
Four horses and a dog were on the property, and Devlin called in Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna Animal Shelter executive director.
“I got the call at 12:30 a.m. and I was asleep,” she said. “I told them I could take a dog, but I didn’t know what to do with four horses, and I certainly didn’t know how to network for them at 1 a.m.”
Normally horses might simply be put out in the pasture, Devlin determined the scene “unsafe.”
She began cold-calling friends, and Brian Bookhout advised her to call Hunter’s Rein in Otego. “I had never met them, but when I called them they answered immediately,” she said.
They brought a trailer and took the animals to the shelter in pairs. Though they were put in the dog yard, they were soon fostered by friends of the deceased.
“The woman who picked them up told me she had ridden them that past weekend,” said Haynes. “The dog was also fostered by a friend, and you could tell that dog was truly traumatized.”
There will be no funeral, and a memorial will follow at a later date.