Fire destroys farmhouse that has belonged to Cattaraugus County family for 101 years

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OTTO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Flames ripped through a Cattaraugus County farmhouse on Halloween, resulting in a total loss.

Eight fire companies and 30 fire trucks turned out to battle the blaze. Luckily, no one was injured- including any of the livestock- cattle, pigs, and chickens- that live on the farm.

PHOTO: Jeff Westman

“Everyone was out of the house- we got the animals out,” said Jeffrey Westman, who lives in the house next door.

The farmhouse had been in Westman’s family for 101 years.

It caught fire around 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 31.

“The fire started in the back room- it consumed the whole house in a very short period of time, near minutes,” Westman said. “We called 911, and the firemen focused on my house to save it- theirs was already completely lost.”

The responding companies include the Otto Fire Department, East Otto Fire Department, Little Valley Fire Department, West Valley Fire Department, Mansfield Volunteer Fire Company, Dayton Fire Department, Ellicottville Fire, and the Cattaraugus Fire Company.

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office and Ladies Auxiliary of East Otto also responded.

“They did a great job- some of the volunteers came into the house and got our most precious valuables out, because there was a chance of losing them in the fire,” Westman said.

However, Westman’s family next door- Nina, Chuck, Kaylee and Mackenzie Marek- lost everything.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the costs of clothes, furniture, and other essentials not covered by insurance.

“The community has been beyond generous to us,” Westman said. “People have come up here, volunteering their time, effort, clothes, money- the community is no longer neighbors helping neighbors, they’re all family now.”

Westman says his family has plans to rebuild.

“A lot of memories have been made here over the past hundred years,” Westman added. “We figure, we’ve been here for a hundred, why not a hundred more.”

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