LITTLE GENESEE — Fire officials said there was little they could do Thursday evening to salvage a Little Genesee home’s garage where a fire started. 

Crews from Bolivar and Richburg’s fire departments were called to 9127 County Road 5C, a single-story residence near the Bolivar Golf Course, just before 9:30 p.m. on the report of a working fire with flames shooting into the air. Bolivar assistant first chief Brian Hemphill said an attached garage on the double-wide, three-bedroom home was completely involved in fire when his crew arrived at the scene.  

Mr. Hemphill said crews had challenges putting out the flames because the below-zero-degree temperatures kept freezing the pumpers, making it difficult to get water on the flames. Backup tankers were needed from Allentown, Friendship, Portville and Shinglehouse fire departments to provide a constant flow of water.

“We couldn’t save the garage. It was fully involved so we had to focus on the house,” he said. 

Firemen were able to swiftly tackle the fire inside the single-family home, but Mr. Hemphill said the house sustained some water and smoke damage. He noted fire crews had to place holes in the roof to let out some of the heat. Although there was damage, Mr. Hemphill said, crews were able to save items and furniture that were in the living room and dining room areas. 

“We managed to get the fire knocked down quickly inside the home. It was a big save for us since double-wide homes usually catch fire very quickly,” said Mr. Hemphill, adding once heat builds up in the walls of a double-wide it typically spreads quickly throughout the walls until it finds oxygen.

He said only a small portion of the siding on the exterior of the house melted as a result of the heat coming from the garage. With only the frame of the structure remaining, the garage was a complete loss as was a vehicle parked inside the structure.

During the time of the fire, the home, owned by Peggy Whitaker, was vacant. The elderly couple that resides there is on vacation in Florida, said the first assistant chief. 

(Contact reporter Darlene M. Donohue at