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Monday, July 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Cause of Le Roy fire not yet determined as investigators continue to search for clues

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Frost Ridge, Le Roy

Don't let the crime scene tape mislead you. Officials are not calling their search for the cause of Saturday morning's fire at 8005 North Road, Le Roy, a criminal investigation.

But arson hasn't been ruled out, either.

Nothing's been ruled out.  

Today, investigators from the Sheriff's Office, Emergency Services and the State of New York, were going over every inch of rubble looking for signs and clues. Le Roy FD's ladder truck was brought in at one point so investigators could obtain aerial photos of the site. The property's owners, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell came to their house to explain to investigators what was where.

Jim Bouton, an emergency management coordinator and fire investigator with the county, said officials may be ready to discuss theories and findings soon.

Previously:

Greg, David and their children lost all of their personal belongings in the fire. A site for community donations has been set up. Click here to access the site.

This thermostat is on a shed about 100 feet from the west side of the house. Radiant heat turned it into a curly fry.

Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 6:55 pm

House filling with smoke on Broadway Road, Darien

post by Billie Owens in Darien, fire

A house is reportedly filling with smoke at 1033 Broadway Road, just west of Warner Road. Darien Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 6:59 p.m.: The homeowner says they contacted National Grid three hours ago to report a possible electrical problem, but never received a response. GC Dispatch is attempting to reach the power company to get an ETA.

UPDATE 7:14 p.m.: National Grid has upgraded the call, but still no ETA. A thermal imaging camera is requested.

UPDATE 7: 32 p.m.: National  Grid is on scene.

 

Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Garage fire on Montclair Avenue

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

A garage fire is reported in the city next to the residence at 12 Montclair Ave. Engine 11 and Ladder 15 are en route.

UPDATE 12:56 p.m.: Responders report smoke showing from a detached garage.

UPDATE 12:57 p.m.: The fire has gone to a second alarm.

UPDATE 12:59 p.m.: The Fast Team is called to the scene.

UPDATE 1:01 p.m.: All off-duty city fire personnel called to the scene along with Darien Fire Department. Town of Batavia fire is asked to stand by in the town's hall.

UPDATE 1:06 p.m.: Scene command reports the fire is knocked down. Alexander's Fast Team is called to respond non-emergency.

Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 5:41 am

Home of Frost Ridge Campground owners in Le Roy destroyed by fire

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Frost Ridge, Le Roy

As he stood just 100 yards from his home destroyed by an early morning fire, David Luetticke-Archbell wanted a picture made -- one that would bring in all of the scene filled with dozens and dozens of volunteer firefighters.

"I want our daughters to see this so they know that so many people came to help us," Luetticke-Archbell.

No lens offers a wide enough angle to bring it all in, but Luetticke-Archbell said he was "blown away" that so many would take their time to help others in need.

The fire may have destroyed every personal belonging of David and Greg Luetticke-Archbell, who moved to Le Roy in 2008 to purchase Frost Ridge Campground on Conlon Road.

"When we move out here, we scaled down to only what we could fit in our RV and we came and there were very few personal effects, just the things that actually had meaning because they came from a parent or a grandparent or something," David said. "There's nothing left. I keep telling the kids that it's going to be OK because we still have each other, but there's nothing else left. It's going to have to be enough."

David and Greg are parents to an 11-year-old boy and two 7-year-old girls. 

They also had a family dog, Sadie, who is missing.

David and Greg had been at the campground all day for Fourth of July and spent the evening enjoying a campfire with friends.

As they returned home at about 12:30 a.m., David said he could see the glow of a fire. He thought somebody's barn might be on fire. As they got closer he saw the fire trucks and it still didn't sink in.

"I thought, 'I hope nobody got hurt,' " David said.

Then it struck him.

"There is our home with fire on it and it’s everything that we ever had," David said. "And it’s not there anymore and I don’t know what to say."

As they pulled up, Greg rushed to the front door. He wanted to find Sadie. A Le Roy police officer stopped him from going into the burning building.

"An officer said 'no you can't, it's too dangerous,'" David said. "He was right because about that time the front of the house – it exploded. I mean you would have thought there was a bomb in there or something. I mean you ... look at this. There’s nothing left. There’s like a frame."

While the house burned, Greg began to shake uncontrollably. He was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital for observation. Greg recently suffered a pair of heart attacks.

It's been a stressful few months for the campground owners. They are being sued by neighbors David and Marny Cleere and Scott and Betsy Collins as well as the Town of Le Roy. The suits allege violations of the town's zoning laws over both the very existence of the campground (which as founded by Marny and Betsy's family in the 1960s) and live music concerts held at Frost Ridge. Judge Robert C. Noonan granted a temporary injunction to the town barring amplified music at Frost Ridge pending a final decision on the lawsuits.

Le Roy Fire Chief Tom Wood was the first on scene and he said the back porch of the residence at 8005 North Road was completed engulfed in flames.

Firefighters entered the structure to pitch an offensive battle against the flames, but when a ceiling collapsed on them, they had to retreat.

An explosion inside the residence knocked down a firefighter who was outside the building. He wasn't injured in the blast.

From that point, the fire fight was defensive and crews did manage to knock the fire down before it did heavy damage to the front of the house.

"Our biggest problem here was water," Wood said. "We've got three different counties worth of tankers here shuttling water."

In all, 12 fire departments responded to the scene.

Wood said it may be possible or the David and Greg to recover some belongings from the front of the structure, but in all likelihood, it will need to be torn down.

The house was built in 1806 and David said the beams of the house are cut tree trucks that still have bark on them in places.

Frost Ridge has a history of supporting the Le Roy Fire Department.

"It definitely hits home with us," Wood said. "These guys have been great to us. They run a Fun Day for us. With everything else that's going on there, they certainly didn't need this."

UPDATE 11:26 a.m.: The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The investigation is being conducted by Deputy Frank Bordonaro, the Le Roy Fire Department and Genesee County Emergency Management. 

Assisting at the scene were Alexander, Brockport, City of Batavia, Town of Batavia, Bergen, Bethany, Byron, Caledonia, Churchville, Cuylerville, Darien, Elba, Mount Morris, Mumford, Oakfield, Perry, Scottsville, Stafford, South Byron, Pavilion and York. Mercy EMS also responded to the scene. Inmates from Wyoming Correctional Facility were also bussed in to help.

(Initial Post)

David Luetticke-Archbell receives a hug from a neighbor.

Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:32 am

Fully involved structure fire on North Road, Le Roy

post by Billie Owens in fire, Le Roy

A working structure is reported at 7993 8005 North Road in Le Roy. Le Roy, Stafford and Pavilion fire departments are responding along with the city's Fast Team.

UPDATE 12:33 a.m.: A responder on scene reports "there is an exposure problem with a propane tank." A "full assignment" from Caledonia is requested along with Bergen. City's first platoon is called to its headquarters to stand by. National Grid is called in.

UPDATE 12:36 a.m.: A crew from York is called to stand by in Le Roy's fire hall.

UPDATE 12:93 a.m.: The location is just west of Conlon Road.

UPDATE 12:49 a.m.: Command tells responders to proceed to the scene from the east.

UPDATE 12:54 a.m.: A crew from the Town of Batavia is requested to stand by in Le Roy's fire hall. No word on status of the same request from York.

UPDATE 1:17 a.m.: The original address of the fire was an approximation provided by the caller. It is now reported to be 8005 North Road, which is east of Conlon Road, but just west of a creek.

UPDATE 1:20 a.m.: Crews from Alexander and Bethany are called.

UPDATE 1:24 a.m.: Elba and Darien fire departments requested to man tankers in their respective halls.

UPDATE 1:32 a.m.: Now a tanker from Oakfield is requested to fill in at Le Roy's fire hall.

UPDATE 1:35 a.m.: Oakfield is asked to instead man a tanker at its own fire hall.

UPDATE 1:46 a.m.: Looking at the street view on Google Maps, the North Road location is right across the street from the north end of Conlon Road.

UPDATE 2:13 a.m.: According to the Town of Le Roy's 2014 final tax assessment database online, the property is owned by Gregory J. Luetticke-Archbell, who is involved in a lawsuit with two neighboring families regarding his Frost Ridge Campground summer concert series. The 2,512-square-foot house has five bedrooms, two baths, and sits on 9.73 acres. It was built in 1806 and was last purchased in May 2011 for $116,400.

UPDATE 2:45 a.m.: Here's what David Luetticke-Archbell told media at the scene:

“I’m so lucky. Oh God. We were about a block away and coming up the hill and we saw a little bit of flames and some smoke and then I realized there were fire trucks here – there were one or two – and I wasn’t sure what to think. I thought maybe it was a barn or something and then I looked up and there is our home with fire on it and it’s everything that we ever had. And it’s not there anymore and I don’t know what to say – watching them tear this thing down…

"When we moved out here, we scaled down to what we could fit in our RV and we came and there were very few personal effects, just the things that actually had meaning because they came from a parent or a grandparent or something. And there’s nothing left. Absolutely nothing. And I keep telling the kids that it’s going to be OK because we still have each other, but there’s nothing else left and it’s going to have to be enough."

They had been gone all day. When they got home, David said Greg kept calling for their dog, Sadie, to try and get her out. Greg wanted, and tried, to go inside to look for her but was stopped by a Le Roy police officer.

"...an officer said 'no you can't, it's too dangerous.' And he was right because about that time the front of the house – it exploded. I mean you would have thought there was a bomb in there or something. I mean you ... look at this. There’s nothing left. There’s like a frame."

Greg was transported to the hospital. He was visibly shaking at the time. He had a couple of heart attacks a few weeks ago and they took him to the hospital to keep an eye on him, David said, adding that the children's aunt is staying at camp and they will stay with her for "a week or two until we figure it out."

UPDATE 5 a.m.: Le Roy Fire Police told to open the roads back up.

Friday, July 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Farm building in Bethany used for storage destroyed by fire

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, fire

It was just a storage shed. Some straw. Some sawdust. Bedding for the animals on a farm started by Michael Adams and his family in 1979.

The family built that shed. The first one of the Adams Farm property. Talking to Michael Adams after fire reduced the structure to rubble, you could see those remembrances pass before the long gaze of his eyes.

“Everything here got built by my brother, my dad, myself, my kids, my wife, everybody that’s come along through here," Adams said. "We tried to do all the work ourselves." He paused. "I look at it and start thinking about the days we were building it and, know you. …What can you do?”

The fire at 5664 Little Canada Road, Bethany, was reported at just before 2:40 p.m., but by then it was already too late.

“We were fixing a hose in the shop and came out, just got done with it, sent the neighbor back home with it, our tenant actually, back home with the hose," Adams said. "Came around the corner and looked and seen black smoke coming out the one corner of the barn there and that’s when I called 9-1-1 and tried to get down there and see if there was anything I could do but I couldn’t even get near it. It was already hotter than hot, you know."

The Adams farm specializes in replacement heifers for dairy farms and has about 60 head of beef cattle. The farm also grows corn, soybeans and a little bit of hay, Adams said.

Bethany Assistant Chief Jeff Pietrzykowski, today's scene commander, was in the city when he got the dispatch for the fire. Pietrzykowski could see the smoke column all the way down Ellicott Street. He immediately put out a second alarm for Stafford Fire to respond as well.

The first firefighters on scene found flames leaping from the windows and the roof was already gone.

"Our top priority was keeping it from the other buildings," Pietrzykowski said. "There was heavy fire. It was almost on the ground when we got here, but we were worried it was going to spread."

With no public water in the area, tankers were needed to haul water from a nearby pond.

Mutual aid departments included Alexander, City of Batavia, Town of Batavia, Le Roy and Pavilion.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

"It’s just like everything else around here, probably way under-insured, you know," Adams said. "Maybe we can put something smaller up if possible, but just to store our bedding and whatnot -- for the cattle mostly, that’s what it’s used for."

To purchase prints, click here.

Friday, July 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Big barn fire on Little Canada Road, Bethany

post by Billie Owens in Bethany, fire

A barn fire is reported at 5664 Little Canada Road, Bethany. It was called in by the homeowner. It has already gone to the second alarm. Bethany Fire Department is responding. Howard, en route but still in the city, says "I can see it from here." Alexander is called to the scene and to fill in at Bethany's Fire Hall. The city's Fast Team is called along with the Town of Batavia, Le Roy, Stafford and Pavilion.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Command reports the burning structure is a metal pole barn and the fire will likely be contained to that structure.

UPDATE 2:47 p.m.: The first platoon is called to city fire headquarters.

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: The third platoon is called to stand by in city headquarters.

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.: The location is between Fargo and Torrey roads.

UPDATE 3:32 p.m.: The fire still has small flames in a few areas and hot spots but appears to be under control, according to Howard at the scene. The area is still very smoky. The pole barn contained no equipment. It was used to store cattle feed and bedding. The operation there raises beef cattle and replacement heifers, plus corn, soybeans and some hay. A crew from Wyoming Correctional Facility will be arriving sometime in the next hour or so to help out.

UPDATE 4:32 p.m.: Howard interviewed the farmer, Michael Adams, who runs the operation along with his wife, Noreen, and their children. They've owned the property since 1978. It's a little over 500 acres on what was once all corn fields. Of this afternoon's blaze, which totaled the barn built in 1979, Michael said:

“We were fixing a hose in the shop and came out, just got done with it, sent the neighbor back home with it, our tenant actually, back home with the hose. Came around the corner and looked and seen black smoke coming out the one corner of the barn there and that’s when I called 9-1-1 and tried to get down there and see if there was anything I could do but I couldn’t even get near it. It was already hotter than hot, you know."

More T/K

UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: The Bethany assignment is back in service.

Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 11:50 am

Pavilion residents offer many thanks to those who helped battle June 1 blaze

post by Billie Owens in fire, Pavilion

A Letter to the Readers of The Batavian:

This letter is to thank everyone who battled the massive fire that destroyed an iconic landmark in the Town of Pavilion on June 1st. Although a major part of our town's history lays in ruin, another historic landmark only eight feet from the structure that burned, still stands. No words can fully express our gratitude, but we will try...

To the firemen and women of the three counties and 14 departments who responded, we will always remember you are the reason our building is still standing, virtually untouched by the raging flames only feet away. With all that is wrong in this world, you showed us everything that is right. Your dedication to service, commitment to your community, teamwork and camaraderie were outstanding. Your gift to humanity is grace beyond measure. You gave us everything you had that fateful day, yet asked for nothing in return.

To the families of the firefighters and volunteers:

Thank you for your sacrifice on that beautiful sunny Sunday. We can only imagine the plans and projects that were put on hold while your loved one battled this blaze for hours and hours on end. How proud you must be of their service. These amazing men and women are appreciated and needed. They are an inspiring example to all. Look up and honor these brave and dedicated men and women.

To all the volunteers: Salvation Army, Red Cross, Town of Pavilion employees and residents who supplied water and food, your presence was comforting and nothing less than epic.

To those who donate to these organizations, a special thank you and a prayer that you may never need their services.

To the countless people that prayed that our building be saved, God listened!

To the three families that lost everything, we watched helplessly as your worldly processions went up in flames. Your calmness, strength, and faith is an inspiration that will forever be etched in our minds and hearts.

A special thank you and acknowledgement to the Town of Pavilion officials, highway department, and County Fire Coordinators office.

To Townsend Energy and Griffith Energy who donated supplied and delivered 275.2 gallons of diesel fuel to the fire trucks we salute your commitment to the community.

Lastly we want to thank God for His grace, watching over those that protect and serve. No humans or pets were lost.

Sincerely,

David and Ann D'Angelo, owners of 11114 and 11116 W. Park St., Pavilion
Catherine Carlsen from Country Hill
Teresa Tracy and Melissa Coral from Jazzy Creations
Ann D'Angelo from Remission Café
Pat Wolcott
Veronica Branch
McKenzie D'Angelo

(Photo provided by McKenzie R. D'Angelo)

Monday, June 23, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Field fire reported behind mobile home park in Stafford

post by Howard B. Owens in fire, Stafford

A field fire is reported at 5610 Route 5, behind the Golden Mobile Home Park, Stafford.

Stafford fire responding.

UPDATE 9:06 p.m.: A chief on scene reports a controlled burn. Engine 93 responding non-emergency.

Friday, June 20, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Fire at building on North Spruce

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

A working fire is reportedly coming from building 'B' at  20 N. Spruce St. in the city. The city's fourth platoon is called to the scene and the first platoon is called to headquarters.

UPDATE 1:30 a.m. (by Howard): At least 13 people, including young children, living in six apartments, were displaced by the fire. The fire started in a second-floor apartment occupied by a grandfather and three grandchildren. All four were home at the time and escaped unharmed. That apartment was gutted. A third-floor apartment was heavily damaged. There is smoke and water damage throughout the Group B part of the complex. The cause of the fire has not been determined. A witness said he arrived on scene seconds after the first fire crew. He saw fire burst through a window and within 45 seconds, firefighters had the fire knocked down. At this hour, city fire crews are still on scene.

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