State Police: Body found after Cuyler fire

CUYLER — State police and fire officials are investigating a “suspicious fire” that sparked this morning at a Route 13 farmhouse after a dead body was discovered inside, according to police.

It was unclear this afternoon if the person died before or during the fire as state police and fire officials declined to answer detailed questions this afternoon, citing the ongoing investigation. The person’s age and gender were also not released.

No firefighters were injured when they responded to a neighbor’s call at 10:05 a.m., said Cuyler Fire Chief Adam Daley. When firefighters arrive, they discovered the white farmhouse at 4677 Route 13, between West Keeney Road and Crains Mills Road, burning, said Daley.

“We made interior attack,” he said, noting the firefighters were able to extinguish the fire using truck hoses from the inside of the home. “We got the fire out about an hour into the call.”

The house was a residence of a gentleman that was keeping an eye on the property after its owner died, said Nick Diles, a cousin of the property owner and the executor of the owner’s will. Diles watched from the road as investigators in white jumpsuits and blue gloves, as well as officials wearing gas masks near the smokey building, conducted their investigation. Diles declined to say if the man was home at the time of the fire.

“There’s been a gentleman living here for a while,” said Diles. “A gentleman living here just to keep the lights on, I guess.”

The name of the person found dead inside the home is being withheld until family is notified, according to a state police news release.

“One person was located deceased inside the residence,” police stated. “No one else was inside.”

In addition to state police troopers and fire investigators, the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and  Forensic Identification Unit are also investigating, according to the release.

Officers “were called to a suspicious fire,” according to the release, and “the fire remains under investigation.”

Officials said the fire was “contained” and the building was “structurally ok,” said Diles. The fire itself generated a lot of smoke, said Daley.

With state vehicles and several fire trucks parked along the road as investigators conducted their probe, fire police continued to flag drivers through one lane past the burned house.

Firefighters from Truxton, DeRuyter, Fabius, Homer, Tully and Cortlandville aided the Cuyler firefighters, while the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office also assisted. Smith and TLC ambulances lent aid, as well as the members of the state Department of Transportation.