November 11, 2013

Passerby Extinguishes Porch Fire, Calls Ithaca Firefighters

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The quick acting of a passerby resulted in the extinguishing of a porch fire before it “became a big deal” Sunday, according to Lt. Thomas Basher, public information officer for the Ithaca Fire Department.

When she was out on a walk Sunday afternoon, Luzi Tapia noticed a porch fire at the Hudson Heights Studio Apartments complex on South Hill and called 911, an IFD press release said. Tapia also alerted others in nearby units, leading neighbor Rakim Jones to use an extinguisher to put out the fire.

Although the fire was extinguished by the time firefighters arrived, the IFD went in along with the Ithaca Police, Bangs Ambulance and the Ithaca College Police Department to ensure that the area was safe, according to the press release. They left the scene by 2:45 p.m.

Responders determined the fire was the result of “a combination of cigar ash and brisk winds,” the press release said.

The department was able to handle the porch fire and keep enough equipment around in order to handle other emergencies, Basher said. With its current level of staffing, the IFD — which has been spread thin recently due to the increasing number of emergency calls around the city — is able to handle two emergency calls at once, he added.

Basher said he was pleased with the way the fire was handled prior to the arrival of first responders.

“We’re happy that everything turned out well and that people were looking out for each other,” Basher said.

Authorities remind individuals to “properly dispose of all smoking materials,” the press release said.