The Auburn Police Department has teamed up with fire officials to investigate a fire this week at a Cayuga Centers residence.
On Wednesday, Auburn Police Captain James Moore confirmed that APD is assisting the fire department in its investigation at 202 Franklin St. The fire, which occurred Monday night, was contained to a closet in the first-floor bathroom and displaced four staff members and five youth residents, who were temporarily relocated to the organization's main campus on Hamilton Avenue.
At this time, Moore said the fire seems "suspicious," but noted that the investigation is in its early stages. He could not say whether any charges were pending.
This was the second fire at the Franklin Street home in less than a month — the first was reported Dec. 5 and damaged an upstairs office. However, Assistant Fire Chief Bill DiFabio said investigators do not believe the fires are connected, as the first fire has been ruled electrical.
A service provider for families and children, Cayuga Centers was established as an orphanage in Auburn in the mid-1800s. It currently specializes in residential service, foster care and evidence-based programs to help people with disabilities.
Edward Hayes, the president and CEO of Cayuga Centers, said the organization is cooperating with the investigation. While the property on Franklin Street was repaired and deemed habitable by the fire department, Hayes said he is not moving residents in just yet.
"We're cleaning things up a bit," he said Wednesday. "There's no rush."
As for the residents' safety, Hayes commended the staff for handling the situation like they did and said he did not have any concerns.
"We run a safe program and I think that my staff performed very, very well evacuating everyone," he said. "We had good plans in place to get the residents to safety ... and I think we're seeing a lot of good staff performance these days."