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Councilman: someone trying to prevent East Side businesses from opening

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Buffalo Common Councilman says an arsonist may be targeting mini-marts and delis around Genesee St.

The most recent incident came last week. Buffalo fire officials said a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a mini-mart called Genesee Short Stop, which was set to to open later this month near Erb St. That fire left ten people, including several children, in need of help from the Red Cross.

The owner of the Genesee Short Stop said he still plans on opening up after making some repairs.

"Somebody doesn't want to have these stores open," said Councilman Rich Fontana.

Fontana says it's not the first such incident on Genesee St. He says another building, just a half-block down from the Genesee Short Stop, was fire-bombed recently. Fontana, who represents Buffalo's Lovejoy District, claims the owner of that building had told people in the neighborhood he planned on opening a deli.

"I'm trying to see who would be the common denominator in this," Fontana said. "There were some calls to my office complaining about the one store opening. We're trying to track down those phone calls.

"I'm just trying to find out who's got the beef up here and who's causing the problems."

Buffalo fire officials did not respond to requests for comment.


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