ITHACA, N.Y. (WETM) – Ithaca Police are investigating a house fire believed to be intentionally set. The fire was first reported by a school bus driver who sprung into action to save the people in the home.

Police and the Ithaca Fire Department responded to the 600 block of Cascadilla Street around 5:50 a.m. on January 19. Kieth Whittaker, a bus driver for the Ithaca City School District first reported the fire who saw the flames, alerted the occupants of the house and then used a fire extinguisher to “knock down some of the initial flames”. Police said the bus driver’s actions possibly saved the people in the house from injury or death.

The Ithaca Fire Department later put out the blaze and the New York Office of Fire Prevention and Control arrived to assist with the investigation. Police believe the fire was intentionally set with the use of an accelerant.

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone who may have been near Cascadilla Street and Meadow Street between 5:45 and 6:00 a.m. is asked to contact the IPD Investigations Division with any of the following methods:

  • Police Dispatch: 607-272-3245
  • Police Administration: 607-272-9973
  • Police Tipline: 607-330-0000
  • Anonymous Email Tip Address: www.cityofithaca.org/ipdtips