AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Firefighters discovered almost immediately when they arrived on the scene of the fire at Premium PPE that hazardous chemicals were being stored in the warehouse at 120 Earhart Drive.
The thick black smoke caught in the wind even led to a stretch of the Thruway getting closed down for a few hours.
Main-Transit firefighters were joined by first responders and fire crews from as far away as Rochester in a massive effort to bring the inferno under control. Fire officials say soaking rain and high winds hampered their efforts several times — one chief calling this the biggest fire in Amherst he had ever seen.
Kulpa says smoke from the fire has left soot and an oily coating on nearby buildings, vehicles and residents need to take special care when cleaning up.
The supervisor also had high praise for crews that came from the airport, Buffalo, state agencies and neighboring communities.
“I can’t say enough, how great of a job first responders did in terms of keeping the site contained, keeping the fire contained, and keeping potentially hazardous situations from becoming a lot worse,” Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa said.
Kulpa says a number of agencies are conducting air and soil sampling to see if chemicals released in the fire might be posing a public health hazard and so far, he says tests have turned out negative.
Kulpa says he will be releasing frequent updates on health and safety developments in the surrounding neighborhoods. Youth baseball games at the Matthewson-McCarthy are canceled Wednesday, and Kulpa says possibly Thursday.
Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.