BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Niagara Lubricant provided plenty of fuel for a four-alarm fire in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood, filling the skies with thick black smoke all day. Cleanup was underway Wednesday night on Chandler Street.
The fire began at around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and 17 hours later, fire crews were still throwing water on what was left smoldering. Over 100 firefighters responded to the scene throughout the day, and none were seriously hurt, but the smoke from the massive blaze could be seen from as far away as Hamburg and Batavia.
The fire filled the air with black smoke over Chandler Street in Black Rock. Niagara Lubricants, a producer and distributor of mechanical lubricants and solvents, was up in flames just after sunrise.
Buffalo Fire Division Chief Don McFeely said, "There's so much stuff in there, so much lubricants and everything. Unfortunately, water doesn't put it out, it just spreads it around. The fire's deep in the building enough that our lines can't even hit it to put the foam on it."
The U.S. Air Force brought in foam from Niagara Falls and other trucks brought foam from the airport. One-by-one, roofs and floors caved in.
"They had a lot of propane tanks on the first floor that lit up and they were setting off and exploding. We had a huge fireball out the side," said Division Chief McFeely.
The Erie County Sheriff's Air One helicopter hovered above, recording video and advising firefighters on where the fire was rekindling inside. With all the heat and smoke, all firefighters were ordered to get a doctor's checkup on scene.
Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said, "We're checking on everybody. We just want to make sure our guys and gals are safe. So we're checking them, people who were exposed to the fumes and whatever, people who were working this scene, we're doing baselines on them. There's a doctor here, they take blood pressure and all those sorts of things like that. The clothing's going to be all rehabbed. We're going to send the clothing on downtown to be cleaned."
Black oil could be seen running down the storm drains, but it will be filtered by the sewer authority.
Division Chief McFeely said, "It's going in the sewers. We're blocking as much as we can with rubber pads, but the sewer authority is notified and they make arrangements to handle it as it comes through them."
Niagara Lubricants has been in business for 88 years and employs 35 people.
Supplier Doug Harbison said, "It hurts my stomach. I can't believe it. I know those guys. They're like everybody else: just trying to keep the lights on, make a couple of nickels."
Some of the employees tell News 4 they will be back at work on Thursday at a different site. Three different companies have offered them space. They will be able to continue producing lubricants and even start shipping them out on Thursday.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and damage from the fire could be in the millions.
A man who was wrongly convicted of second degree murder in 2009 has been set free after spending four years in prison.
Investigators have pieced together who is responsible for dumping a dog on the side of the road inside a zipped up Coors Light thermal bag.
State Police need your help finding the pickup truck driver who pinned a mother against her vehicle as she was loading her baby and young son into it and then fled the scene.
Though less than an inch of lake effect snow appears to have fallen in Orchard Park, in southern Erie County and further south it's a much different story.
The district received more than $5.5 million on Tuesday, which covers its share of revenues from the Seneca Allegany Casino.
Buffalo's running community has lost an icon. John Beishline has died.