A fire Friday, Jan. 17 claimed one of the oldest houses in the village of Penn Yan, the home Ronald E. McDougal, at 402 Liberty St. The Penn Yan Fire Dept. was assisted at the scene by Benton, Himrod, and West Lake Road Departments as nighttime temperature dropped into the low teens.
Branchport-Keuka Park and Hammondsport’s ladder truck stood by at the Penn Yan firehouse.
Standing nearby as firefighters tried to save his home, McDougal, 75, said he was not home when the fire began and was not injured. Penn Yan Police Inv. Wayne Marsh, acting as fire investigator, determined the structure was unsafe for entry, and the house was declared uninhabitable by code enforcement. The town of Benton Highway Dept. responded with heavy equipment to level the structure in sections so fire personnel could extinguish the fire. The entire structure was demolished at 10:30 p.m. Police noted the remnants had rekindling at about 4:18 a.m., and firefighters returned to the scene.
Marsh says the homeowner reported having some electrical issues in the house. NYSEG and Penn Yan Municipal electric cut utilities to the house.
According to his son, Andrew, his father "has lost everything except his car, his wallet, and the clothes on his back." The Red Cross has been contacted to assist him. While they hope insurance will help rebuild his home, in the meantime he needs medications, clothes and accommodation. In that effort, Andrew has set up a gofundme.com page (search for "Ron McDougal") with the goal of $5,000 to help with his immediate needs.