Fire damages home of Susan B. Anthony in NY
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A suspicious fire damaged the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester, New York, early Sunday morning, according to the Rochester Fire Department.
Shortly after 1 a.m., Rochester firefighters received a call that the fire alarm at the museum had activated. Within minutes, 911 dispatchers started receiving calls alerting them of a potential fire.
Arriving firefighters found the back porch of the museum was fully engulfed in flames, fire officials said. Firefighters contained the fire to the back porch, which was heavily damaged. There was minor fire damage to a nearby doorway and water damage to the interior carpet, said Lt. Jeffery Simpson of the Rochester Fire Department.
Smoke damage is apparent throughout the house, which was closed Sunday, said Deborah Hughes, president and CEO of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. It was not yet known when the museum would reopen.
No historical artifacts were damaged in the fire, Simpson said. It took firefighters about 20 minutes to contain the blaze. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters said they are investigating to determine what caused the fire.
Hughes said that surveillance cameras captured video of someone on museum property, near the back porch, moments before and after the fire sparked. That person, whose face was covered, was also seen holding something on the video, she said.
There’s also video footage of the fire spreading rapidly, she said.
It was not immediately known why someone targeted the museum.
Hughes noted how thankful she and her colleagues are to Rochester firefighters for acting quickly, carefully and respectfully as they battled the blaze.
“They were aware they were handling a national treasure and were almost apologetic” for needing to enter the home, she said. While fighting the fire, firefighters also removed paintings and historic banners from some nearby interior walls to secure the items, Hughes said.
“The Rochester Fire Department has long understood the significance that this property holds both to our local community as well as the nation,” Battalion Chief Joseph Luna said in a news release. “A great job was done by the firefighters’ tonight in limiting the effects of the fire on both the museum and its displays.”
The house was once the home of famed civil rights leader Susan B. Anthony. Now a National Historic Landmark, the house was the headquarters of the National American Woman Suffrage Association when Anthony was president.
The home was also the site of her arrest in 1872, days after she cast her ballot in a presidential election. She died in 1906 at age 86.