Tenants and homeowners displaced by Delhi fire

Several fire companies battled a major structure fire Monday morning at a home on 4 Franklin Street in Delhi, just off the village's Main Street. Photo by Cathy Roloson and used with permission. (Thanks everyone for helping us track down the photographer!) 

An elderly couple and eight others are safe after a three-story Victorian on Franklin Street was destroyed by fire the morning of February 3, 2014. 

The home at 4 Franklin Street, just off the town's Main Street, belongs to Gerard and Lilly Breen. The couple rented several apartments on the second and third floors of their home to tenants, according to Steve Hood, the assistant chief of the Delhi Fire Department.

Four SUNY Delhi students, three of their guests, and another woman who lived in an apartment on the third floor, were in the house at the time of the fire. No one was injured.

The blaze, which began around 8:15am Monday morning, began on the third floor, Hood said. No cause has been determined.

According to Faiga Brussel, the owner of the Delhi food store Good Cheap Food and a longtime friend of the Breens, the fire engulfed much of the house, and firefighters had to climb through the roof to battle it.

The house itself, which Hood said is likely one of Delhi's original houses, is heavily damaged.

"I'm not sure it could be considered a total loss," Hood said. "Most of the fire was confined to the attic, but it did suffer a lot of water damage."

As of around 10:15 a.m., when a Watershed Post reporter was at the scene, the fire was mostly under control, but smoke and a few flames were still visible inside the house. Hood said that the Delhi firefighters returned to the station at 2pm. Fire departments from Walton, Bloomville, Bovina, Franklin, Oneonta and Meridale responded to the blaze, he said.

Main Street in Delhi was closed for hours during the fire, but re-opened early Monday afternoon. 

The Breens are staying with friends in the aftermath of the fire, according to Brussel. Gerard Breen is a former professor at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, and Lilly Breen is a former Delaware Academy tennis coach. Gerry Breen also taught part-time and served as a counselor at SUNY Delhi, according to a Kimberly MacLeod, a spokeperson for the college.

The four SUNY Delhi students have been relocated to the SUNY Delhi campus, according to MacLeod. They've been given campus housing, meals, and temporary clothing, because all of their possessions were destroyed in the fire.

"The president met with the students to let them know that the college is committed to helping them with the assistance they need," MacLeod said. She added that a relief fund is being established to help the students with their costs. To contribute to the relief fund, she said, mail a check to the address to the College Foundation at Delhi, 454 Delhi Drive, 171 Bush Hall, Delhi, NY 13753, or call 607-746-4605 to pay with a credit card. 

Below: A Flickr set of photos from the fire. All photos by Fred Harris.

We are updating this post periodically as we get more information. Last update: 1:05 p.m. February 4, 2014.