Roof of three-story warehouse at Oak and Genesee collapses


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Friday morning in Buffalo, a warehouse roof on Oak St. at Genesee collapsed.

Surveillance video from Catholic Health across the street captured the moment at 10:45 this morning when surprised that the old abandoned warehouse on Oak Street near Genesee suddenly caved in this morning at 10:45.

“We said every day, this building just has days to live, it was very obvious,” according to Maureen Bartley who owns Maureen’s Buffalo Wholesale florist right around the corner. “We didn’t know anything had happened until the firemen came in and asked us to evacuate all the employees and remove ourselves from the building, and they said the building had collapsed on the block.”

No one was hurt according to William Renaldo, the commissioner of the Buffalo Fire Department. “There were four or five workers in the one story building next to the structure that collapsed and they were all able to evacuate safely, as you could see the truck outside had some damage.”

Christopher Koch works in an office across Genesee Street and said it sounded like thunder. “And we were nervous about what happened. We knew there was a construction crew on the corner building so we were nervous about whether they were safe.”

Just to be sure no one was inside, Buffalo Firefighters used the aerial ladder to get a better look inside from the top. “There was always an off chance somebody could have been in the building illegally and that’s why we’re taking a look.”

It was built in the late 1800’s, was vacant for decades, and was just purchased by Legacy Development in May 2020, according to James Comerford, the commissioner of Permits and Inspections for the City of Buffalo. “But he did make an effort he put a lot of money into this and we were supporting him totally. So, this is not something where he neglected, it’s just the building is old. It’s just obviously over 100 years old and the other buildings. Somebody’s got to come in and try to save them.”

As a result of the collapse, which occurred around 10:45 a.m., a pickup truck near the three-story building was damaged.

The collapse affected traffic coming off of Route 33 . The Route 33 westbound ramp to Oak St. was closed.

(Before image: Google Earth)

(Video of the collapse courtesy of Catholic Health)

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Four to five workers were in the adjacent one-story building, and they were able to get out safely.

It’s not clear whether or not the entire building will need to be demolished. The building had been under renovation by Legacy Development, but no one had been inside for months, the company’s assistant vice president, Eamon Riley, says.

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“There’s always a concern with a building of this age,” Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo said when asked about similar buildings.

The images and videos below were captured on the sixth floor of the Catholic Health Administrative & Regional Training Center. They were provided to News 4 courtesy of Catholic Health:

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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