News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Fire

Loose Stovepipe Started Fire, Reports Schuyler Lake FD

Loose Stovepipe Starts Fire,

Schuyler Lake VFD Reports

Capt. Ryan Strong, of the Richfield Springs Volunteer Fire Department was on the scene of a fire in Schuyler Lake. The fire, which started in a loose woodstove pipe, was quickly contained. With him is Alan Steere, a Schuyler Lake VFD firefighter. (James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)

SCHUYLER LAKE – A loose wood stove pipe caused a house fire earlier this afternoon on County Route 22 in the Hamlet of Schuyler Lake.

The fire, at the home of Tom Donnelly, was reportedly caused by a loose fitting on a wood stove. The leak from the stove and resulting heat caught the house’s wallpaper on fire.

Fire Chief: Smoke Detectors Saved Couple

West Oneonta Fire Chief:

Smoke Alarms Saved Couple

Members of the Otego Fire Department on the scene of a fire at 687 State Highway 205 that destroyed a couple’s home. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – By the time West Oneonta Assistant Fire Chief John Quick got to the scene of last night’s fire at 687 State Highway 205, the house was fully engulfed, but the residents were safe in the neighbor’s driveway across the street.

“They were alerted by the smoke detectors,” he said. “The wife tried to put it out, but it was just too much.”

10 Fire Companies Battle Blaze in West Oneonta

2 Transported To Fox Hospital

10 Fire Companies

Battling Blaze In

West Oneonta

Frank Allen, Bart Clark and Nate Lowe. West Oneonta Fire Department, spray for hot spots in the blaze that destroyed a home on Route 205 in Oneonta earlier this evening. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

East Meredith fire chief David Briggs lights a flare on Route 205, which is closed as 10 fire companies battle a blaze in West Oneonta.

ONEONTA – At this hour, 10 fire companies are on the scene of a house fire just past the intersection of Routes 205 and 23 in Oneonta.

According to senior dispatcher Laurie Devlin, Otsego County 911, the call came in at 7:14 p.m. for a fully involved structure fire at 687 State Highway 205. Oneonta, West Oneonta, Unadilla, Otego, Wells Bridge, Pindars Corners, West Laurens, Mount Vision and Milford all responded to the call.

Police Investigating House Fire, Suspicious Death

TROOPERS: DEATH SUSPICIOUS

Body Found In

Burned House

WORCESTER – State police are investigating the death of a yet-unidentified subject after a house fire in the Town of Worcester.

Worcester and East Worcester fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire just before 9:18 p.m. last night. When an adult was located deceased inside the residence, troopers were called to the scene to investigate.

STORY DEVELOPING, CHECK BACK

 

Firefighters Resuscitate Cat After Oneonta Apartment Fire

Firefighters Resuscitate Cat

At Oneonta Apartment Fire

Oneonta fire fighters responded to a fire at the Mayrose Apartments on Lewis Avenue this evening. One resident, Matt Baker, was treated for smoke inhalation, and his cat, Oreo, was rescued from the fire and resuscitated with oxygen at the scene.

By JENNIFER HILL • Special To ALLOTSEGO.com

Oreo is resting comfortably after Oneonta Fire Captain Rob Latourette resuscitated her with oxygen.

ONEONTA – Oneonta firefighters were able to resuscitate a cat rescued from the fire in the Mayrose Apartment complex on Lewis Avenue this evening.

“She was pretty much dead when we found her,” said Capt. Rob Latourette. “I gave her oxygen and she revived quickly.”

The cat, named Oreo, is owned by Matt Baker, a resident of the apartment, was also treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. Baker, 26, managed to rescue his three guinea pigs, which are in the care of a neighbor.

A second cat, a cream-colored female named Cheeseburger, was not located in the apartment, and is believed to have run out the door when the fire broke out and is still missing.

Early-Morning Fire Destroys New Berlin Home

HOMELESS FAMILY NEEDS HELP

Father, 3 Children

Flee Pittsfield Home

In Early-Morning Fire

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Richard Miller was able to get his three children out of their house at 1487 County Highway 13 in the Town of Pittsfield when they heard smoke alarms go off.

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.

Leatherstocking Market Damaged In Early Morning Blaze

Pre-Dawn Fire Closes

Leatherstocking Market

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)

Inside the market, shelves of snacks and merchandise were destroyed by the blaze.

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.”

Baking Mishap Causes Cherry Street Fire

Baking Mishap Causes

Fire On Cherry Street

Debris on the lawn of 9 Cherry Street, where an oven in an apartment caught fire last night. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

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.”

Cooperstown FD Douse Fire On County Route 28

Cooperstown FD Douses

Blaze On County Route 28

With the quick response of the Cooperstown Fire Department, a home in the Town of Otsego was saved from complete destruction. The fire, which is still under investigation, broke out at a home at the corner of Wedderspoon Hollow Road and County Route 28 just after noon on Saturday, but was put out in under an hour, according to Fire Chief Jim Tallman. Mutual aid was provided by Fly Creek, Springfield, Milford and Hartwick Seminary. Though the structure was damaged, it was not considered a total loss, and though the home is considered occupied, the owner was not at home during the fire. (Bill Waller Photo)
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JANUARY 19
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JANUARY 19

Sing A Song Of Broadway 

14-19eventspage

BEFORE TRAVELING CHECK FOR DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITIONS.

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

Senate Resolution Gives Fallen Hero Liberty Medal
John D. Heller

Senate Resolution Gives

Fallen Hero Liberty Medal

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, presented the Liberty Medal to John Heller’s parents at his funeral on Friday, Jan. 4.

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.

 

Hero May Not Have Been Target, Chief Concluding

Hero May Not

Have Been Target,

Chief Concluding

Suspect’s Brother Person

Of Interest, Can’t Be Located

Erika and Michael Heller, right, hold close two of their four boys who John Heller – her brother-in-law; his brother – rescued from an arson last Saturday, losing his own life. To their right is Amber Roe, John’s fiancé. In the foreground, Heller’s pallbearers console each other after placing the casket in the hearse after Jan. 4 funeral in Foothills’ Atrium.

By LIBBY CUDMORE

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.

Hampton Hit By Firemen, Competitors
COOPERSTOWN AND AROUND

Hampton Criticized By

Firemen, Competitors

HARTWICK

Pat Wager/The Freeman’s Journal- Hampton Inn engineer Rudy Zona shows plans at Hartwick Planning Board public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 8.

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.

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