Cortland firefighters respond to kitchen fire on Madison Street

No one was injured and an apartment sustained limited damage in a kitchen fire about 1:20 p.m. Tuesday at an 11B Madison Street apartment.

The fire was started by a stove burner that was left on, said Cortland Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Friedman. A box of pasta was left sitting on the stove next to a pan on the forgotten burner, causing a fire that damaged the stove, Friedman said. 

No one was home in the apartment when the fire started, Friedman said. It was the neighbors in the next door apartment, who were home, that noticed and called 911, he said.

Olivia Riedinger and Joseph Ponte, of the next door apartment, said it was their neighbor’s smoke alarm that alerted them to the fire.

“We heard the fire alarm go off, there was smoke coming out underneath (the door) so immediately we called 911,”  Riedinger said. “And that was really it. Got the animals out.”

The couple own a cat, Onyx, and a Guinea pig, Snickers.

The occupant of the 11B Madison Street also owns cats and the city firefighters, after seeing evidence of cats in the apartment, made a thorough search of the smokey apartment for the felines, Friedman said. Firefighters could not find a cat, but were told they are allowed outdoors, and it is likely they are away from home, he said.

“We just hope his cats are alright,” Ponte said.

Thin, gray smoke was streaming out of the apartment as firefighters worked to ventilate the building and city fire trucks stood by with equipment. Fire police directed traffic at the intersection of Madison Street and Main Street, as well as along Madison Street.