Fire causes damage to Cook Mansion
MONTOUR FALLS--Some 25 members of the Montour Falls Fire Department responded to reports of a blaze at the Cook Mansion (also known as the Barton House) Sunday night, Nov. 2. They arrived on the scene at 203 Genesee St. around 7:30 p.m. and were assisted by fire departments from Schuyler County, Horseheads and Elmira Heights. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.
"It was a confirmed structure fire with flames coming out of the attic," Montour Falls Fire Chief Jeff Confer said. "[...] Between the Schuyler County investigators, we shared our resources with state fire investigators, who are the lead agency in the investigation. It is continuing right now."
While the building did have people in it at the time of the blaze, nobody was hurt during the incident, with only one person requiring treatment at the hospital.
"There were people at the house at the time," Confer said. "No injuries, but we did have one of the occupants today [Monday, Nov. 3], they checked into the hospital up here in Schuyler and they were shipped to Strong Memorial [with] respiratory [problems.]"
Confer said it was a difficult fire to fight due to the building's location, adding the location of the fire within the attic of the building also made it hard to combat the flames. He said there have been no damage estimates as of yet since the house was just released back to the owner at 5 p.m. Monday. Confer said despite the difficulty in fighting the fire, the damage was not as extensive as first thought.
"Believe it or not, we held the fire to one room," Confer said. "It did vent through the roof but we held the fire to one room. So actually, the furniture, the south end of the house, all of that is in good shape."
Confer said there was another fire at the same location in 1971 the department responded to, saving that building in the process as well. Confer said the fire was under control within an hour of responding, but the department sat on the sight for another 11 hours.
"Our initial attack team was aggressive, including the mutual aid companies," Confer said. "[...] You could see where it vented through the roof and anybody would say 'Boy, this looks like it's going to be a loss,' but we stopped it right in that one room."