Fire official: Family dog may have sparked blaze

A fire that destroyed the Hyndsville home of a deputy sheriff and his family on Saturday may have be

A fire that destroyed the Hyndsville home of a deputy sheriff and his family on Saturday may have been sparked by a family dog accidentally turning on a kitchen range, Schoharie County Fire Coordinator Matt Brisley said Monday.

The 10:09 a.m. blaze erupted in the 5666 state Route 10 home of Duane and Gena Tillapaugh, killed one dog and three cats, while another cat and another dog escaped from the house, according to Cobleskill Assistant Fire Chief Phil Slater. No human injuries were reported.

Both dogs were Labrador retrievers, Slater said.

Brisley said the fire originated from the area around an electric stove with a flat, cooktop surface. Since the stove had been off, but was found to be on, investigators think one of the large family dogs may have been trying to get at some bread near the top of the stove and turned on a burner knob, causing the fire.

The family was attending a school basketball game at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School when the fire broke out, Brisley said.

While the house was insured, the family, including the Tillapaughs’ two teenage daughters, lost most of their belongings.

Duane Tillapaugh is a senior road deputy, said Schoharie County Sheriff John Bates Jr.

A fund to help the family has been set up by the county Road Deputies Association, Bates said.

Contributions to the Gena and Duane Tillapaugh Fund may be made at First New York Federal Credit Union, 795 E. Main St., Suite One, Cobleskill, N.Y. 12043.

“I’ve been in contact with [the Tillapaughs],” Bates said. “They’re doing as well as can be expected.”

Bates said a family friend has provided a house for the family to live in temporarily.

“They have a lot of friends and relatives” who have been helping sort out damaged belongings, Bates said.

“It’s a total loss and since they weren’t home, they were not able to get anything out of the house,” the sheriff said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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