SARA TOTH – EDITOR
A small structural fire in the downstairs kitchen of the Cambridge Inn drew first responders from Chautauqua Institution, Ashville, Sherman and Mayville to the grounds Wednesday afternoon.
Institution Director of Campus Security and Safety Joe Gerace said a 4 p.m. 911 call reported a fire with flames showing at the Cambridge. The Chautauqua Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the inn at 9 Roberts. By 5:40 p.m., the fire department reported the small structural fire to be extinguished.
Gerace said Institution Patrol Officer Dan Hafner was first on the scene and, with a fire extinguisher in his patrol car, began to combat the fire; neighbors brought more fire extinguishers and Gerace said Hafner discharged four or five, knocking the flames down. With the arrival of the Ashville, Mayville and Sherman fire department, Hafner’s initial response meant emergency services were able to investigate the scene, and did find additional hotspots.
“They vented the room, and we saw smoke coming from the opposite side, so they tracked back where the smoke was coming from to make sure there weren’t any additional flames involved,” Gerace said.
Responders used a thermal imaging camera to ensure there were no flames behind the walls. By 6 p.m., the Cambridge was being ventilated and the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team were working to determine the cause of the fire. That report will take several days, Gerace said, but there is no reason to believe that the fire wasn’t accidental. Roberts was to remain closed Wednesday evening until the team concluded its investigation. Damage appears contained to the indoors of the structure.