Ithaca fire fighters responded to a kitchen fire at 113 Glenn Place Saturday morning, dousing the blaze and rescuing several stranded kittens from the flames.
At 10:48 a.m. fire fighters were dispatched to the Glenn Place apartment in response to a stove fire.
“I walked into the kitchen and smelled gas, but the stove hadn’t been used in two days,” apartment resident Helen Foran said. “All of a sudden, fire burst from the sides of the stove.”
After calling 911, Foran tried to put the fire out with old blankets. She attempted to use the fire extinguisher, but it did not work.
Within three minutes, the fire trucks arrived on the scene. However, their progress was hampered by illegally parked cars on Glenn Place.
Only one fire engine proceeded to the apartment building, damaging its emergency lighting system on trees as it maneuvered around the illegally parked vehicles. All of the other fire engines remained on Buffalo Street, a hundred feet away from the fire.
“The smoke was thick to a point where you couldn’t see your gloved hand in front of you,” Lt. Dave Burbank said in the fire department’s press release. “…While we couldn’t see anything, we often heard the sounds of numerous small cats.”
The fire fighters first broke windows to clear the smoke and then extinguished the fire in the kitchen. After the fire was completely out, the fighters searched the building and rescued between seven and ten small kittens. One of the kittens had to be put to sleep due to smoke inhalation, Foran said.
The apartment, especially the kitchen where the fire started, was damaged by the heavy smoke. It was posted as uninhabitable by the Ithaca City Building Department.
The Tompkins County chapter of the American Red Cross is working with Foran to find an alternative living arrangement.
“The fire fighters were so nice,” Foran said. “They said that we all were lucky because the store could have exploded at any time.”
The occupants of the other apartments were able to return to their apartments later the same day.
“The Building Department is doing a full inspection today,” 311 Glenn Place tenant Madeline Farbman ’01 said. “The landlords will have to fix everything within 30 days, or all the tenants will have to move out.”
The inspection will look at possible violations in the building codes.
A tenant who wished to remain unnamed said that none of the apartments had smoke detectors.
“We are worried about the violations and are afraid that we will have to move out, because there are a lot of violations and we don’t know how they are supposed to [repair them] in time,” the tenant said.
The investigation by the Fire Department is ongoing.
Archived article by Eve Steele