Eleven Year Old Boy Arrested For Starting Ovid Fire

03/26/14 UPDATE 4pm-

Seneca County Sheriff’s Investigators today charged an eleven year old boy with setting a fire that resulted in the loss of four buildings in the Village of Ovid, New York on March 18, 2014.  The 11 year old, whose name is not being released, admitted to Sheriff’s Investigators that he was playing with a lighter and accidentally set trash on fire behind the New Dragon Chinese restaurant.  He attempted to extinguish the fire but was unable to do so and as the fire grew he fled the scene.  The fire extended to propane tanks at the rear of the restaurant and into adjoining buildings.

The eleven year old, charged as a juvenile delinquent has bee n charged with Arson in the Fourth Degree and will have his case referred to Seneca County Family Court.

Seneca County Sheriff Jack S. Stenberg credited the work of all firefighters who responded from Ovid and Seneca County along with firefighters from Schuyler, Ontario, Cayuga, Yates and Tompkins County who came to the assistance of Seneca County to fight the fire.  Sheriff Stenberg also praised the fire cause investigative work of the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division, Seneca County Fire Investigation Team and the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control who determined the area of origin of the fire.  Stenberg reported that after the fire was extinguished his investigators worked tirelessly around the clock tracking down leads which led to today’s announcement.

03/21/14-UPDATE 8:15am-
Seneca County Sheriff Department News Release.

Seneca County Sheriff's Office reports, on March 18th, 2014 at 5:43PM, Sheriff's Deputies responded with the Ovid Fire Department to (New Dragon Chinese Restaurant) 7188 South Main, Ovid for the report of a structure fire.

Upon arrival, Sheriff’s Deputies witnessed heavy smoke and fire that appeared to be coming from the rear of the building. There were several propane tanks located behind the building that were also involved which resulted in the tanks venting propane and catching fire.

The Fire spread throughout the building which was owned by Charley Huang age 28 of 7188 South Main Street. And to the adjoining buildings (Seneca County Assessor for Covert-Lodi-Ovid-Romulus-Varick) 7186 South Main Street Ovid, (Italian Kitchen) 7184 South Main Ovid Both buildings are owned by Joseph Seamon AGE:46 of 8897 Arden Road Interlaken , and to an attached apartment building located at 2148 West Seneca St Ovid Owned by Michael McLaughlin address unknown.

All of these structures sustained heavy fire, Water and smoke damage. The extent of the damage is not fully known at this time but it appears that they are all a total loss. All residents of the building were accounted for and unharmed. The intensity of the fire caused the vinyl siding on the home of Raymond Austin AGE: 74 at 2146 West Seneca Street to melt off.

The Ovid Fire Department was assisted by fire departments from Seneca, Ontario, Schulyer, Cayuga, Tompkins Counties and the American Red Cross.

The Seneca County Fire Investigation Team along with New York State Fire also responded to the scene to assist with the investigation. The buildings were all insured and damage amounts are unknown at this time.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 



03/19/2014 UPDATE 8am- The Ovid Federated Church is now accepting donations for the 10 people that are homeless after the Tuesday fire. 

03/19/2014 UPDATE 2pm

They are gone. Fire took out three buildings on the same block in downtown Ovid Tuesday night . The buildings housed the New Dragon Chinese Restaurant, The Four Town Joint Assessor's Office and the Italian Kitchen Restaurant plus a number of second floor apartments. Ovid Mayor David Terry says the apartment occupants have nothing to go back to. 

Terry says he hopes one day they will rebuild on the site.



Fire investigators are at the scene still. As of 2pm Seneca County Emergency Management  Director Charles Mc Cann tells Finger Lakes News Radio and FingerLakesDailyNews.com they have yet to determine how the fire started and then spread so quickly

The Red Cross Is helping one family.


03/19/14 UPDATE 1pm-

Ten people are homeless  after fire destroyed three businesses and seven apartments in downtown Ovid Tuesday night. Some of those that lost everything in the fire are getting assistance from the American Red Cross.

The Seneca County Fire Investigation team is still looking for the cause of the fire. It took about 4 hours to put the fire out, and then investigators remained on the scene until about 4 this morning.  

Ovid Fire Chief Bill Palmer says the buildings will have to be torn down  as they are too far gone to be rebuilt.

Here are more pictures from the fire scene.




UPDATE 12::20am -  Seneca County Firefighters were still on the scene of a destructive fire that charred three buildings in downtown Ovid on Tuesday night. A number of downtown Ovid businesses went up in smoke and several upper floor apartments were destroyed.

At one point, over 40 water tank trucks were lined up in a row to provide water to fight the blaze.  

No injuries were reported and the cause is under investigation.  Early reports that a propane tank ignited the fire have not been confirmed. 

Watch the first explosions from this YouTube video shot by Tori Eline.


Watch these TV News reports from WETM, WHEC, and WSYR



UPDATE 8:30pm-

Three Ovid businesses were destroyed by fire late Tuesday.  The fire call came in at 5:49pm.  The fire destroyed three buildings connected to each other and several apartments above the business block.

New Dragon Chinese Restaurant, The Four Town (Ovid, Lodi, Covert, Romulus) Joint Assessor's Office, and the Italian Kitchen Restaurant and the apartments were destroyed by the blaze.

It's believed everyone escaped the buildings, which are connected and on the western side of Main Street.

First reports on the scene blame a propane tank for causing the fire. 

All Seneca County fire departments, along with help from Trumansburg, Enfield, Geneva, were called to the scene.  Other area departments were called in on standby. 

Besides the village water from fire hydrants, water was trucked to the scene and pumped from portable ponds.  The water was being trucked in from the old Willard Psychiatric Center.




All photos by Greg Cotterill, Finger Lakes News Radio.


A massive fire is raging in downtown Ovid at this hour (6:30PM).  Fire crews from Seneca County, Trumansburg and Enfield are battling the blaze that has affected several businesses and apartments that are located above the downtown business block. 

The fire was called in at 5:49PM and the flames were believed to be originating at or near the New Dragon Chinese Restaurant, a  two story structure on South Main in Ovid.  The Italian Kitchen Restaurant, an assessor's office and the Community Thrift Shop, are all in the fire's immediate path. 

Plumes of smoke could be seen from several miles off as a brisk wind fanned the flames and kept firefighters working frantically to limit the damage to the business block and the upper floor apartments.  

Greg Cotterill is at the scene and will continue to update this story.  The photos were taken just prior to 7PM, this evening. 






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