Buffalo Grand Hotel “secured” by law enforcement, fire commissioner says

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The investigation into a fire in the ballroom and kitchen of the Buffalo Grand Hotel is continuing with law enforcement now involved.

“As the investigation into the cause of the hotel fire continues, the site has been secured by law enforcement agencies,” Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo told News 4 Friday.

Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on scene for a second day in a row Friday.

“At this point I can confirm that ATF is proving technical support and working in conjunction with the City of Buffalo’s Fire Marshal’s Office,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brian Klas wrote in an email. “The origin and cause of the fire has yet to be determined but the investigation is continuing.”

Arson is one of the many categories the ATF investigates. But as of Friday afternoon, neither fire nor law enforcement officials had yet said publicly they believe the fire is suspicious.

The fire broke out around 1 a.m. Thursday. It caused an estimated $3 million in damage, according to Buffalo fire officials. Harry Stinson, the owner of the hotel, says he doesn’t believe the fire was accidental.

“I can’t tell you the details,” Stinson said.

“As the dust has settled and the smoke is clear, some of the things we’ve noticed lead us to believe that this was not an accident in terms of how the fire started,” he added.

Responding to Stinson’s comments, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown expressed concern Friday.

“To hear that it was not an accident certainly is very troubling,” Brown said. “That investigation will continue. Hopefully we will get to the bottom of what the cause of that was. But it is very troubling.”

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2017. See more of his work here.

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