City leaders plan on demolishing large portion of Riverside industrial complex destroyed in Friday night fire

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Parts of a Crowley Street industrial complex were heavily damaged in a fire that started Friday evening that was still burning early Saturday morning and people are worried.

Community leaders are concerned because this isn’t the first time a fire has happened here. City officials say this is the second fire since the city announced it would be demolishing a large portion of this property.

Crews were at the complex early Saturday, blocking off access with cement blocks.

The cause is still under investigation and community leaders are hoping people stay out of this area.

“It has been an eyesore, it has been a problem, a dangerous property in that neighborhood,” said Mayor Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

“We have to protect ourselves and we have to make sure that we’re not going over there and going onto that property,” added Council Member Joe Golombek.

For a second time in a month, crews responded to a fire on 308 Crowley Avenue in Riverside causing $500,000 in damage.

Evelyn Vossler of Rediscover Riverside told us, “This is very disappointing the two fires that occurred.”

“This was my greatest fear, that something horrible was going to happen there, that a firefighter or somebody was going to get hurt. That there was going to be a fire or something other kind of problem,” added Council Member Golombek.

Most of the buildings inside the industrial complex are vacant. But there are two local businesses located on the property, including Enterprise Folding Box located on Isabelle Street.

The owner tells News 4, her business was not damaged in Friday night’s fire. Community leaders say the business is one of the best uses of the property so far, and it would be a shame to see it destroyed.

“They have been good neighbors, they are good employers, I haven’t heard any complaints about the working conditions. I know a lot of people who have jobs there and are grateful for the jobs so we really don’t want to see anything happen to them. We don’t want them to move out of our neighborhood out of fear either” Vossler added.

Councilmember Joe Golombek says if that were to happen dozens of jobs would go with it.

“It would be catastrophic for them financially if something happened because they’re finally back to work full-time and enjoy working and getting a paycheck and all that,” Golombek said.

To prevent any more fires in this complex, city leaders say there are plans to have the vacant and damaged areas demolished.

“Our goal is to get it removed as quickly as we possibly can. To move the demolition forward and to get every element of that property demolished so that the community can sleep well at night,” added Mayor Brown.

“We just hope they start the demolition soon and people realize that there is value to this property, it’s not all coming down,” Vossler said.

The Common Council will vote for a demolition project on Tuesday and leaders are hoping to start that project by the end of the month.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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