Cardboard conflagration strikes village

A kitchen fire which started on the stovetop at apartment 3-F at the Village Mall caused smoke damage to the dwelling and led to water damage at several businesses located below the second-floor apartments Monday afternoon Aug. 7.

The Village Mall is located at the corner of Vine and First streets, in the heart of Liverpool's business district.

Responding to a call received at 5:29 p.m., the Liverpool Fire Department sent more than a half-dozen trucks to the scene, plus two rescue vehicles and three chiefs' SUVs. Liverpool Police and Rural Metro ambulance were also on hand.

At least two trucks from the Moyers Corners Fire Department also responded but soon returned to their station.

Just before 5:30 p.m., an unidentified apartment resident ran over to The Retreat, a restaurant across from the Village Mall on Vine Street, asking to borrow a fire extinguisher. Guy Hibbert, an employee at The Retreat, hurried over to the apartment with two fire extinguishers, one in each hand.

[Box on stove]

"There were people moving into the apartment," Hibbert said, "and one of them put a box on top of the stove and then switched on the burner by mistake, I guess, and the box caught fire."

Liverpool Fire Chief John Loucks Jr. confirmed that scenario.

The residents managed to rescue a guinea pig that had already been moved into the small apartment, Hibbert said, but then the smoke became thicker as the fire trucks began arriving.

By 6:10 p.m. LFD had the situation under control, and Onondaga County fire investigators were determining the exact cause, said Deputy Fire Chief Tim MacCollum.

"Nobody was hurt, knock on wood," MacCollum said. "There was a little bit of water damage to the businesses underneath the apartment, from water seeping down from above."

The names of the resident of apartment 3-F were not immediately made available by the county fire investigators.

First Street between Tulip and Vine streets was closed to traffic for about an hour while the firefighters did their work. Notably, the skies opened up while the department did its work, dumping torrents of rain to help extinguish the flames. As soon as the firefighters had put out the blaze, the sun emerged.

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