Update 8:30 a.m. —

— Everyone is safe and accounted for in a fire that drew a huge emergency response and caused significant damage at The Chapter House and adjacent buildings on Ithaca’s Stewart Avenue Tuesday morning, according to Mayor Svante Myrick.

— Both the building holding The Chapter House and another building have been declared a “total loss,” according to Myrick.

The buildings won’t collapse, but it’s possible that The Chapter House can’t be rebuilt, the mayor said.

Photo submitted by reader.

— The Ithaca Fire Department announced around 8:30 a.m. that they had gotten the blaze under control. They were first called to the scene a little before 5 a.m.

— About 30 Cornell students have been relocated to Barton Hall as the university seeks accommodation for students, according to a source.

— Stewart Avenue remains closed and firefighters are expected to remain on scene for several hours and throughout the day.

Photo by IV’s Ryan Landvater

More photos by the Ithaca Voice’s Ryan Landvater:

Update 8 a.m. —

Crews continue to battle flames at The Chapter House in Ithaca early Tuesday morning several hours after they were called to the multi-building fire.

Lt. Thomas Basher said there’s concern about a possible building collapse, in part given how much water has been pumped into the structure.

One person remains unaccounted for, but it’s unclear if that person was even home at the time.

Two buildings were involved in the fire. Stewart Avenue remains closed.
Update 6:45 a.m. —

One person is unaccounted for after a multi-building fire struck The Chapter House and an adjacent apartment building on Ithaca’s Stewart Avenue early Tuesday morning.

Emergency responders don’t know if the person was home at the time of the fire, but it is a concern, says Lt. Thomas Basher of the Ithaca Fire Department. (Firefighters later added that the roof of The Chapter House has collapsed.)

Crews arriving just before 5 a.m. found “heavy fire” on scene, Basher said.

“They were able to search the building of The Chapter House and the apartment above. We weren’t able to get all the searching done in the apartment to the right before we had to pull everybody out,” Basher said in an interview Tuesday morning.

Firefighters believe the fire “may have started in between the two buildings, between The Chapter House and the building directly to the north,” Basher said, adding, “We’re not 100% sure; it’s still early on.”

Though the condition of one person remains unknown, residents on scene at the time of the fire were able to get out safely, Basher said. No residents or firefighters have been reported injured.

Crews will be working on Stewart Avenue for another few hours, according to Lt. Basher.

It’s too early to say exactly how bad the damage is. There was “heavy fire on both sides (and) … we believe both buildings were heavily involved,” Basher said.

Several apartments were damaged, and the fire did spread to inside The Chapter House bar itself, Basher said.

Video interview with Basher here:

The Voice will continue to provide updates as we get them.

Earlier —

Ithaca, N.Y. — Emergency crews are at the scene of a structure fire at The Chapter House building in Ithaca early on Tuesday morning.


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Emergency crews said around 6 a.m. that they had already been on scene for several hours and that the fire began before 5 a.m.

The apartment building has been evacuated. Red Cross is on scene.

Ithaca firefighters continue to work the scene.

Adds Cornell in a statement: “Firefighters are battling an early morning, multi-building fire on the 400-block of Stewart Avenue in the City of Ithaca. Police are instructing all motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to avoid the section of Stewart Avenue between State Street and Campus Road, which is now closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles.”

No injuries have been reported in connection with the incident.

“Firefighters are doing an incredible job,” Mayor Svante Myrick said on Facebook of the structure fire “that’s threatening to destroy The Chapter House.”

“More info when available.”

Check back for updates.

Full round-up of Ithaca Voice’s Chapter House fire coverage

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.