By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star
---- — Fire gutted a house Tuesday afternoon in the town of Oneonta, leaving one resident homeless.
Officials said no one was seriously injured in the blaze at 10 Murdock Ave., just west of the Oneonta city line and a block from Chestnut Street.
One firefighter was taken for emergency treatment after debris got into one of his eyes, but Oneonta Fire Chief Patrick Pidgeon said the injury did not appear to be serious.
The only resident of the house was not inside when the fire started, the chief said. The man declined to talk to a reporter at the scene, and the chief could not provide his name.
Pidgeon said that the first call about the fire came in at 2:26 p.m., and that units arrived within four minutes.
By that time, flames were coming from the first floor at the front of the house, and the fire was moving toward the second floor, he said. It took about an hour to control the fire, he said.
Oneonta City and Otsego County fire investigators were still at the scene Tuesday night, trying to determine the cause of the fire.
“I just left there myself, and they were still actively involved in the investigation,” Pidgeon said just before 6 p.m. “So it could be a few hours, it could be a few minutes, depending on what they find.”
The property was the site of another fire in January 2009 that destroyed an unattached garage.
“We’ve had incidents there before,” Pidgeon acknowledged.
In 2009, the resident, identified as Matthew P. Hill, 38, told authorities he was trying to thaw a snow blower with a heater and had left the garage to answer the phone. He returned to find the garage on fire, he said.
Firefighters demolished the garage for safety reasons. The house was not damaged in that blaze.
On Tuesday, the fire department put out a general call for “all our manpower,” Pidgeon said.
Among the departments responding to the scene or to cover the Oneonta fire station were Otego, West Oneonta, Laurens, Sidney, Franklin and Worcester, the latter three part of a Fast Team response, a cooperative strategy among those departments and Oneonta to handle major fires.