Shorthanded Fire Crews Save Ithaca (NY) Home

While a storied section of Collegetown burned less than a mile away, another fire threatened a house on South Aurora Street, drawing firefighters already stretched thin to save the home, reports

Construction workers digging at 605 S. Aurora St. pulled up an unmarked electrical line around 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to Lt. Tom Basher, of the Ithaca Fire Department. The line shorted and caused a fire in the basement that filled the home with smoke.

Some firefighters left the scene of the Chapter House fire — a two-building fire that firefighters had been battling since 4:30 a.m. — to help douse the basement fire before it threatened major damage to the home.

A resident at the home smelled the smoke and was able to escape without injury, Basher said. The construction workers saw flames and called 911, he said.

The one-story home is under construction, and most of the front yard had been dug out and the foundation exposed. Fire crews on Tuesday worked around mounds of dirt and an excavator parked in the driveway as they suppressed the fire.

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