Photos and article by John Spaulding
The Albion (NY) Fire Department received a call for a warehouse on fire shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The first-arriving chief found a three-story stone and heavy timber building fully involved in fire.
Multiple additional companies were requested immediately.
The roof and second and third stories collapsed in a short time. Concerns of a wall collapse onto the neighboring Empire Coating manufacturing facility triggered the request of Genesee County’s Hazardous Materials Team and a 1/2-mile shelter-in-place request by command to the public. The plant used and stored methyl chlorine which was later moved from the building.
The building, built circa 1900, has seen many different business in its more than a century existence, but currently serves a busy wood pallet and manufacturing company called Orleans Pallet.
The header of the fire was seen up to 50 miles away. Every agency in Orleans County was involved in the fire, with additional resources from Monroe and Genesee County.
Thousands of feet of large diameter hose were stretched to every side of the building, and even though the Orleans County Soil and Water increased production and output of water, a drafting operation was established from the nearby Erie Canal for additional water source.
After about five hours into the conflagration, the town of Albion code enforcement officer deemed the building unsafe and required demolition.
So much hose was laid that prisoners trained and supervised from the New York State Department of Corrections were brought in to assist in the clean up. Fire apparatus and personnel remained on scene for much of the following day.
The fire was caused by a workers removing plumbing with a grinder, and sparks ignited inside. Only two people were at work when the fire occurred. No injuries were reported throughout the entire incident.
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