PITTSFIELD – A widower and his three children were left homeless after a blaze destroyed their New Berlin home overnight.
According to Pittsfield Fire Chief Dale Ives, Richard Miller called Otsego County 911 at 1:30 a.m. to report that his home at 1485 County Highway 13 was on fire. “The smoke detectors woke them up,” said Ives. “When we arrived on scene, he told us everyone was out of the house.”
Miller, a widower, lived in the house with his three children, Brandon, 13, Hunter, 10, and Izabella, 7. His wife, Sharron, died in February after a two-year battle with cancer.
An early-morning fire destroyed the store at Leatherstocking Market & Fuel in West Davenport, but firefighters were able to keep it away from the fuel pumps. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
WEST DAVENPORT – Though the blaze was contained in “within 10-15 minutes,” the Leatherstocking Market & Fuel store still suffered damage as a result of a fire that broke out in the early morning hours.
“We knocked it down very quick,” said Pindars Corners Fire Chief Matt Rittlinger. “It could have been a lot scarier.”
The call came in, first to the station and then from a passerby, at 4:42 a.m., and Pindars Corners and East Meredith fire departments both arrived on the scene at 4:45 a.m.
“We cut the power and tried to keep the fire away from the fuel pumps,” said Rittlinger. “But we were able to knock it down within 10-15 minutes.”
ONEONTA – Plans for a pan of brownies went awry after an unknown debris in the oven of an apartment at 9 Cherry St. caught fire.
According to Jim Maloney, assistant fire chief, the call came in at 8:10 p.m. “They turned on the oven to pre-heat before making brownies and something in the oven caught fire,” he said. “The fire escaped and got into the structure.”
THEATER CONCERT – 7 p.m. Sing A Song of Broadway presents “Wishes, Lies, & Dreams” featuring music from My Fair Lady, Seussical, Les Miserable, 1776, Into The Woods, many more. Don’t miss one night only show. Admission, $18/adult. First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-4102 or visit firstumc-oneonta.org
ALBANY – The state Senate today passed a resolution bestowing its Liberty Medal, the upper house’s highest honor, on John D. Heller, the former Oneonta firefighter who saved five lives before dying in a Dec. 29 arson at 5 Walling Ave.
State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who introduced the resolution, noted it is given for “meritorious action against hostile odds.”
“John Heller was that type of individual,” he said. “John displayed great courage in saving the lives of his fiancé and four young nephews, and he made the ultimate sacrifice. His final act on earth was one of bravery, valor, heroism, and love for others.”
Similar to the national Congressional Gold Medal, the Liberty Medal is bestowed upon individuals for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.
Senator Seward previously presented the Liberty Medal to John Heller’s parents John and Gayle Heller and fiancé Amber Roe during a memorial service Jan. 4 in Oneonta.
ONEONTA –With one arrest, 100 leads and a “person of interest” who can’t be found, Oneonta Police are still piecing together what happened during the blaze that killed a man hailed as a “hero” on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 5 Walling Ave.
“We’re not sure what (Terrence) Truitt was trying to do,” Police Chief Doug Brenner said of the suspect facing a charge of arson, first degree. “It looks like Heller was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Truitt, 34, is now accused of setting a fire on the second-floor that killed former Oneonta firefighter John Heller, 38, in his third-floor apartment. Truitt was arrested and charged with arson, first degree, Monday, Dec. 31, and appeared in City Court for a felony hearing on Friday, Jan. 4.
“We had information that didn’t line up with what (Truitt) had first told me,” said Oneonta Police Detective Sgt. Branden Collison. “He kept changing his stories.”
But police are seeking the whereabouts of his brother, Gabriel Truitt, whom they are calling him a “person of interest,” but providing no further explanation.
Though initially interviewed at the start of the case, Brenner said he has not been seen or heard from since.
“We’re trying to figure out to what extent Gabriel is involved,” he said.
Firefighters and competitors raised objections Tuesday, Jan 8, at a public hearing on a Hampton Inn & Suites planned in Hartwick Seminary.
Hartwick Fire Company #2 pointed out it lacks a ladder truck necessary if the four-story building were to catch on fire.
CHERRY VALLEY – A structure fire destroyed a garage on County Highway 50 in Cherry Valley last night, according to Robert J. O’Brien, county 911 director.
The fire at 1697 County Highway 50 broke out around 8:45 p.m. and was fully involved by the time the Cherry Valley Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene. Mutual aid came from Springfield, Middlefield, South Minden and Sharon Springs.
DAVENPORT – Two children were killed and one adult hospitalized with burn injuries after a house fire in in the Town of Davenport.
According to a news release, State Police responded to a Delaware County 911 call at 1:46 a.m. reporting a structure fire at 435 Dehning Road. The fire was extinguished by Davenport Fire Dept., Pindars Corners Fire Dept., Hobart Fire Dept., and Kortright Fire Dept, but an investigation determined that two children died in the fire, and one adult victim was taken to Upstate Medical in Syracuse for burn injuries.