BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Did the City of Buffalo break the rules when workers swung the wrecking ball at the former Bernstone's Cigar Store?
Buffalo Preservation Board Chairman Tim Tielman claims the old one-story building at Main and Swan was the second oldest building in the city, built in the 1850s, and designed by renowned architect Calvin Otis. Tielman also accused city officials of circumventing the preservation board by ordering an emergency demolition of the landmark.
"The city should not be greasing the skids for anyone seeking to demolish a city landmark. Despite our best efforts, we were defied by the commissioner and the Brown administration to try to do our jobs under the City Charter, which is to preserve our city's landmarks," said Tielman.
But Inspections Commissioner James Comerford says their records show the old cigar store had no historic importance.
Comerford contended, "As far as we know, this building was constructed in 1947. I'm [now] hearing it was built in the 1890s. I don't know where the discrepancy is, but our records show 1946 to 1947, and the owner says 1947."
Commissioner Comerford added, the bottom line for him was, the building posed a hazard to public safety as evidenced by a structural engineer's report, and bolstered by his own inspectors.
If the building caught fire, Comerford says it could have been a catastrophe for first responders.
Police say they had the wrong man, and that Jerome Thagard, who spent four years in prison, didn't murder Steven Northrup in 2009. But the victim's family says otherwise.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
Investigators are making progress in the case of a Chihuahua thrown in a ditch while zipped up in a Coors Light thermal bag.
A registered nurse from Lockport has admitted concealing her knowledge of her boyfriend's drug dealing activities.
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