Sheriff's Office: Solon fire death ruled accidental

Cortlandville firefighters work in March in this provided photo/CORTLANDVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT

SOLON — The death of a McGraw man in a hay barn fire was ruled accidental, said Sheriff’s Office Lt. Todd Caufield on Thursday.

Paul W. Burdick, III, 35, of Lapp Hill Road was discovered dead by firefighters as they worked to extinguish a fire that consumed an open-sided hay barn on Oct. 26 in Solon, according to the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office.

While the final fire report is still pending from the state fire investigators of the Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Burdick’s death was determined to be accidental, said Caufield. Fire investigators are determining the cause of the hay fire, he said.

“As far as his death, it was caused as a result of the fire, with smoke and heat inhalation,” Caufield said. Inhalation injuries occur when a person breathes in smoke, chemicals and/or extreme heat during a fire, according to the National Institute of Health. Injuries to airways account for half of all fire deaths, the NIH states.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at 2:21 a.m. and the barn — constructed of simple poles and a roof — was entirely engulfed in flames when they arrived at the Lapp Hill Road farm, according to the Cortlandville Fire Department.

McGraw and Homer firefighters helped to extinguish the fire, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.