Winds Rekindle Fire Along Chautauqua Lake That Destroyed Two Homes

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BEMUS POINT, NY (WNY News Now) – Mother nature is blamed for rekindling a fire along Chautauqua Lake on Friday, with high winds causing flames to spread to two adjacent structures.

The original fire started Tuesday night at a single-family vacation home in the lakeside community of Maple Springs. Embers from the partially demolished structure are believed to have started this blaze.

“When we checked that site last evening, there were no smoldering, so smoke, so evidence of any fire,” explained Douglas Conroe, Chief of the Maple Springs Fire Company. “There must have been some heat embedded underneath, which the wind off of the lake which came in as a cold front coming in, we surmise it caused it to flame up, and effect the house next door which we are working on today.”

Around 6 a.m. neighbor James Wilcko and his wife woke up to seeing extensive flames.

“I was sound asleep, let me tell ya, and she said ‘oh my God, Duncan’s house is on fire,” explained neighbor James Wilcko. “We didn’t wanna see that again, because we saw that two nights ago when Jerry’s house went down.”

Now, crews aren’t taking any chances in letting sparks relight.

“There are going to be spreading out that rubble, because it cannot be removed from site until it is totally cold,” continued Chief Conroe.

While the fire is devastating to these residences, the Chief says there are two silver linings here: one, no injuries were reported, and two, they were able to contain the fire from spreading further, to landmarks like Midway State Park.

“The way the wind was going this morning, the embers could have taken the house across the street, they could have taken the office to Midway State Park,” said Chief Conroe.

In the end, those on Chautauqua Avenue plan to rally together.

“We all help each other out, we do everything together, that’s what’s sad, to see my neighbors hurting,” said Wilcko. “This was a brand new home, he put a lot of money into the safety features of it, it was all fire retardant foam sprayed in the walls and everything, but, it is, what it is.”

The first fire, investigators report, originated in the living room due to an electric problem. A third structure, also a vacation home, was impacted too and stuffed extensive exterior damage during this morning’s blaze.


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