Chautauqua fire damage estimated at $200K

CHAUTAUQUA – Quick action by firefighters and a little bit of luck saved a home from a late-night fire Monday on the Chautauqua Institution grounds.

A police officer making his rounds reportedly spotted the blaze at 30 Ramble Ave. around 11:45 p.m. According to a caretaker, no one was living in the seasonal three-story residence at the time of the fire, which caused an estimated $200,000 in damage.

Adam Akin, first-assistant fire chief with the Chautauqua Fire Department, said firefighters were able to get the blaze under control within an hour. Akin noted first responders were able to prevent the spread of the fire to nearby structures.

“We had the fire under control pretty quickly,” he said. “A lot of credit has to go to the police officer who just happened to see the fire. That gave us a quick jump.

“We were able to get water on the fire from our ladder. We had crews going into the front door and had some ventilation. But a lot of it also comes down to mutual aid, which really helped us out.”

Assisting Monday were firefighters from Mayville, Ashville and Sherman. The fire was reportedly under control by 1 a.m., and the last crews left at 4 a.m.

Chautauqua County Fire Investigator Scott Cummings praised the immediate response.

“They did a bang-up job saving the house,” Cummings said. “They kept it under control and did a good job from letting it spread.”

An electrical problem in the bathroom wall was cited as starting the blaze. The structure sustained significant fire, smoke and water damage.

Akin, meanwhile, said routine training has helped the fire department respond to fires within Chautauqua Institution. A massive fire destroyed one residence and heavily damaged another Oct. 8.

With narrow streets and large residences close together, fighting any fire can become problematic, Akin said.