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

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.

Three Homes Burn Over New Year’s Eve

PEOPLE SAFE; 2 DOGS DIE

3 Homes Burn

 New Year’s Eve 

Fly Creek firefighters battled a blaze that started in the chimney of a home on Route 80 early this morning. Overnight, two other homes burned down in Middlefield and Springfield. (Steve Baker/Contributed Photo)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Whipped by high winds, flames destroyed three homes in northern Otsego County overnight – in the towns of Middlefield, Springfield and Otsego.

At  9 p.m. New Year’s Eve, crews from the Middlefield Volunteer Fire Department were called to 207 Rezen Road after a passerby called 911 on observing a home on fire.

HOUSE FIRE ON FORD AVENUE

HOUSE FIRE AT

89 FORD AVENUE

Fire crews from the Oneonta and Sidney Fire Departments are on the scene of a house fire at 89 Ford Avenue in Oneonta. Though the fire has been contained, when crews responded to the call at 5:45 p.m., the black smoke could be seen from the bottom of Ford Avenue and the house was engulfed in flames when they arrived. No one was home at the time of the fire, and the cause is still unknown. Mutual Aid is being provided by Worcester, Franklin, Schenevus and Otego fire departments, with. Laurens on standby for the OFD. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

This Is A Developing Story,

Please Check Back For Details

 

Fire Destroys Cherry Valley Garage

Fire Destroys Garage

In Cherry Valley

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. 

2 Children Killed In Davenport Fire

2 Children Killed

In Davenport Fire

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.

Arrests Made in Connection to Train Fire

Arrests Made In Railcar Fire

Russell Jones, a member of Milford’s Volunteer Fire Department, douses flames from a train car fire in Milford on Oct. 3. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)

MILFORD – Two juveniles have been arrested and charged with setting fire to an antique box car at the Milford Train Depot in early October.

Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. announced the arrests after a two month long investigation, and said that more arrests are expected in the coming days. Devlin stated that both suspects are local residents.

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