No one was injured in an apartment fire this evening on Clinton Avenue — nor when a tractor-trailer detouring around the site missed a turn, striking a flashing railroad track signal on Grant Street.
City firefighters were called about 6:20 p.m. to a fire at an unoccupied apartment at 85 Clinton Ave., said Deputy Chief Duane Pierce at the scene. A resident of a neighboring apartment noticed the fire and called 911, Pierce said.
Firefighters arrived within minutes, searched the building, extinguished the fire and started ventilating the smoke from the house, he said.
While the first floor apartment was empty, there are two other occupied apartments in the house, Pierce said.
None of the residents were displaced, Pierce said. Residents and a dog were spotted waiting outside as the unusually pungent, acrid smoke dissipated.
The cause of the fire was not immediately apparent, but the flames were concentrated around a first floor wall, Pierce said.
“The apartment is under cosmetic renovation,” he said, “and we’re starting the (fire) investigation.”
City firefighters could be seen examining a wall inside the apartment with flashlights.
The neighbor’s quick reporting and the department’s efficient response made a big difference in limiting the fire damage, said Pierce.
“It was relatively small,” he said. “A very smokey fire, sooty fire, but not a tremendous damage to the property.”
A block and a half away from the fire, a tractor trailer that was detoured from the fire failed to make a turn at the intersection of North Greenbush and Grant streets and struck the railroad crossing sign, according to witnesses on the scene.
The flashing railroad arm sign lay on the ground at 7 p.m., and the stop sign at the intersection, along with its street signs, stuck out at a jarring angle above the railroad tracks.
A city police sergeant took pictures of the damage. The road and train tracks were clear of debris.
The Cortland Police Department also assisted firefighters on Clinton Avenue.