The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office reports, that on April 17, 2017 at approximately 7:36PM, there was a structure fire at 1318 Whiskey Hill Road in the Town Of Junius. The structure was a vacant house on the property of 1318 Whiskey Hill Road.
Sheriff’s Deputies report that by the time they arrived the vacant house was completely engulfed with thick smoke filling the air. Junius Fire Department was dispatched, and assisted by the Waterloo, Oaks Corners, Clyde and Seneca Falls Fire Departments. North Seneca Ambulance was also on scene.
Crews worked tirelessly to put out the blaze and in the end the vacant house was a total loss. 2 firefighters were injured during operations on scene, 1 suffered from heat exhaustion and another fell and suffered a laceration to the back of his head. Both were treated on scene by North Seneca Ambulance with one being transported to Geneva General Hospital.
The owner of the property, Sarah E. Mitchell, age 36 of 3048 Seneca Boulevard in the Town Of Waterloo was notified. Tenant Victoria Scharett, age 27 of 1318 Whiskey Hill Road was able to get herself and her two small children, ages 1 and 5, across the street to safety. Joshua A. Randall, 33, of the same address was not home at the time of the incident.
Sheriff’s Deputies investigated the fire on scene, and were assisted by the Junius Fire Department. It was discovered that Joshua Randall had lit a bonfire near the vacant house, which was then left unattended while he left in his vehicle.
During the investigation, Deputies learned there was no insurance on the structure from either the property owner or the tenants. A 1995 Yamaha Motorcycle valued at $5000 and a riding lawn mower valued at $800 were badly damaged during the fire. The vacant house was considered no loss by the property owner.
Also assisting the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office was the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. DEC officers responded and issued two tickets to Joshua Randall, one for an Open Burn (consisting of garbage and violating burn ban) which is a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of $500 up to $15,000. The second was a violation for an unattended fire, with a penalty from $0-$250.
He is to appear in the Town of Junius Court at a later date