ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Monday’s five-alarm fire at 301 Otis Street in the city brought the community there to a standstill as fire teams put out a warehouse going up in flames.
City records show the warehouse was built in 1950 — the most recent owner was Steven Coffey, who apparently let it sit vacant for years. City records show he is behind on taxes and owes about $199,000.
The city said it had 15 outstanding code violations.
It’s not clear yet what happened to cause the warehouse to come burning down but what Capt. David Abdoch told News 8 Monday night is it was packed with wooden pallets — and one thing is obvious: wood likes to burn and continue to grow.
Tuesday, he gave kudos to firefighters for stopping this massive blaze from growing.
“The fire department was able to put lines on the houses, water, to keep the fire from spreading..” he said.
Abdoch said some garages were destroyed, and some basements have been flooded, now they need to pump all the water out. Folks are still evacuated for at least the next 24 hours.
“…until we can fully assess and look at the homes. And that’s happening right now. Building services are going through each individual home making sure that it’s safe,” he said.
Abdoch said hotel rooms have been provided in the meantime. The weather playing a factor in wrapping this all up.
“It’s extremely hard, I mean when it gets cold it gets icy, and you have slipping hazards for all the firefighters and the community,” he said.
Abdoch said the injured firefighter is still in the hospital in satisfactory condition with non-life-threatening injuries.
It’s not clear if anyone was in the warehouse prior to the fire. Fire teams said ‘sqautters’ were known to frequent this spot. All of that will come as the investigation continues.
“It’s going to take some time before we can get a clue as to what’s going on here,” he said.