An elderly lady managed to flee from a fire that destroyed her home and extensively damaged the house next door Monday morning on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution, authorities reported.
The home at 54 South Lake Drive, in an older section of homes, was destroyed. Volunteer firefighters from about half a dozen companies responded to the alarm, which was sounded shortly before 9:30 a.m. The firefighters managed to save the home at 56 South Lake Drive, but it was extensively damaged.
The fire was ruled accidental, sparked by newspapers being stacked on top of the furnace grate, directly above the furnace. Overnight cold temperatures caused the furnace to heat up and ignite the newspapers, Chautauqua County sheriff’s officials said.