A discarded cigarette is the likely cause of a fire that left burned out three residents of 5253 Bridge Road, Elba, out of their home last night, according to Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator.
Two dogs, a chinchilla and five kittens born to a barn cat and living in the basement, are believed to have perished in the fire.
No people were hurt in the fire.
The 140-year-old farm house was divided into two apartments.
At least two of the residents were smokers and were known to stand out behind the house, on the back porch, smoke, and deposit their butts in a plastic canister by the back door.
That's where the fire started.
The structure is still standing and the first floor remains accessible.
This morning Alex Beardsley and a friend were pulling out the personal belongings of Beardsley and his brother. Beardsley said excluding clothing and books and anything else easily damaged by water, about 90 percent of their personal property was saved when firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the second floor.
Beardsley and his brother had a significant investment in the game Warhammer 40,000. That collection was largely undamaged.
One of the dogs that died in the fire belonged to Beardsley and his brother. The other lived with the upstairs resident.
The likely brand of cigarette that ignited the fire is Senecas. About half-a-decade ago there was some controversy around cigarettes manufactured by tribes and their lack of fire-safe features, but in 2009, the Seneca Nation announced all of their cigarettes would be fire safe.
A fire-safe cigarette will burn out more quickly when left unattended.
An employee of Zuber Farm, where the house is located, said the structure is a total loss and will be torn down.