Extreme winds that left Collegetown without power early Monday morning were remnants of Hurricane Ike, according to National Weather Service officials. The storm, which set off fire alarms throughout the city, ignited an electrical fire in the neighboring town of Newfield, burning a barn complex to the ground.
Though Collegetown was spared from fires, winds approaching speeds of 50 mph knocked down a number of power poles, alarming fire officials who shut down portions of Dryden Road, in fear that power lines would burn through protective wires and cause a fire.
Gary Allen, Newfield’s town justice, told the Ithaca Journal that the barn was a “massive inferno,” describing it as “the most spectacular fire I have ever seen.”
According to the Journal, city officials responded to about 25 calls reporting sparking wires in Collegetown. Additionally, the power going on and off triggered fire alarms throughout the city.
The Ithaca Fire Department was forced to rely on trucks from neighboring towns to respond to the alarms. Fire officials said that alarms were silenced by 4 a.m., at which point the deployed trucks were released.