Officials: Fire was not an accident

GLOVERSVILLE – Someone caused the fire that leveled a three-story barn and neighboring garage on Bleecker Street last month, but authorities said that they have no leads.

Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam said Wednesday investigators have ruled out natural and accidental causes. She said there is “human involvement,” but the fire remains under investigation.

She said the department has been working with the city Police Department on the matter.

Police Chief Donald VanDeusen said his investigators have completed their investigation and there are no more leads to follow at this time.

“There are no witnesses, there are no suspects and we’ve established no motive for this,” VanDeusen said.

He said some people came forward saying kids had been in-and-out of that vicinity on other days but not that particular one.

“We weren’t able to obtain enough of a description [of the youth known to frequent that area] to be able to put it out there, so at this point the investigation is closed on our end, depending [on] any further developments,” VanDeusen said. “If more information becomes available, our department will continue to work with the fire department to determine what took place that day.”

The fire, which witnesses said began around 9:45 a.m. on May 15, started in a barn behind 191 Bleecker St., creating a large plume of dark smoke.

Whitman-Putnam said her department was dispatched around 9:53 a.m.

According to the Fire Department, the structure was an 8,364-square-foot, three-story wood-frame building.

Whitman-Putnam said the barn was destroyed along with a nearby garage behind 195 Bleecker St.

An adjacent structure received moderate fire damage on the sides facing the barn.

The chief said eight residences received damage to vinyl siding, and several windows in buildings broke because of the heat from the fire.

Some of the houses at the back side of the barn’s property had a significant space buffer, including houses along the Rail Trail, Cayadutta Creek and North Arlington Avenue, but the siding on those houses was unable to withstand the heat.

The owner of the barn and house at 191 Bleecker St., Everett Flint, previously said he was unaware the barn was in flames until he heard commotion outside.

He said the structure dated back to the 1700s and later was brought to the Bleecker Street site. He primarily used the barn for storage of furniture, wood, insulation and tools. Flint said he always kept the barn locked.

Flint said the barn had no electricity running to it, so he didn’t think the cause of the fire was related to any electrical problem.

The garage behind 195 Bleecker St. contained primarily tools, a snow blower and other yard equipment, the owner said.