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January 7, 2013

Family reflects on fire escape

Jason Layton of Pindars Corners said he had just put his 7-month-old son into a crib for a nap Friday morning when he heard a “pop,’’ then a sizzling sound.

In the adjacent living room, Layton said, he saw the Christmas tree engulfed in flames and rising smoke.

“I grabbed my son and went out the front door,’’ Layton said. “The flames were going up the tree and across the living room ceiling.’’

The fire spread and destroyed the two-story home at 1065 Delaware County Highway 11 in Davenport, where Jason and Lacey Layton lived with their son, Kale, and Jasmine Layton, 7. Also gone are their personal possessions, except belongings in their automobiles. A dog and cat escaped, but two dogs, four cats and many fish in tanks perished.

“We’re pretty beat and battered now — the only way to go is up,’’ Layton said Sunday. “My wife and kids are OK. … We’re a strong family, we’re starting to put the pieces back together.’’

On Sunday, Matthew Rittlinger, chief of the Pindars Corners Fire Department, said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, including whether the origin was electrical.

Pindars Corners crews were at the scene from about 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Rittlinger said, and the fire was under control at about 3 p.m. Between 30 and 40 firefighters responded to the scene, he said, and the daytime availability of volunteer crews and the location of the house near utility wires and trees added difficulty the response.

Ten other departments responded to the call, including Davenport, East Meredith, Meridale, Oneonta, West Oneonta, Schenevus, Otego, Stamford and Firefighter Assist and Search Teams from Franklin and Worcester. Crews used tanker shuttles and laid hose to get water to the house, Rittlinger said, and firefighters used Oneonta’s aerial truck.

The blaze inside the two-story home made the structure unsafe for entry, Rittlinger said. Cooperstown Medical Transport was at the scene, he said, but no one was injured.

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