Owner, witness speak on massive New Haven blaze from this weekend
NEW HAVEN — A town councilor from New Haven confirmed Tuesday that one of his vacant rental properties caught fire this weekend with no injuries resulting from the blaze.
Dan Barney said he was told the cause is “still under investigation” regarding the late Saturday fire at 341 county Route 43 in New Haven.
“I don’t know anything just yet,” said Barney. “We’re still in the very early stages.”
Barney said there were no tenants or occupants at the time of the blaze — which took firefighters roughly an hour to knock down after being dispatched around 11 p.m. Saturday.
A neighbor said they saw the previous tenant moving out “a few weeks before,” and did not think there was anyone occupying the house at the time of the fire.
Videos and photos online show the house with flames shooting out of the structure. What remains of the structure is charred black in many spots with a portion of the house missing a roof.
The New Haven Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene with assistance from Scriba and Mexico.
New Haven resident Ken Sturtz was across the street at his parent’s house when he heard on the police scanner that a local fire was calling for more support and to notify the fire coordinator — saying his “ears perked up” when he heard that it was along county Route 43.
“All of the sudden, my mother calls out that the house across the street is on fire,” said Sturtz.
After racing downstairs and into the driveway, Sturtz said “it looked like a Roman candle over there,” when he first saw the fire from about 100 yards away.
“The flames were so big it took [the firefighters] a while to beat them down,” he said. “I was amazed at how fast the flames went through the roof and the back of the house.”
Sturtz, who has spent several years as a news and crime reporter, said he was “amazed” with how much of the structure survived the blaze, as he thought, “everything would be burnt down to the foundation.”
“It was definitely one of the worst fires I’ve ever seen,” Sturtz added.
Barney noted that he spoke with officials from the Oswego County Fire Coordinator’s Office on Tuesday, adding that he doesn’t know a whole lot more than the general public about the fire’s origin.
Messages left with the coordinator’s office regarding the fire’s cause were not immediately returned.