Body found in Lockport fire identified as 14-year-old Joe Phillips

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — The body found in the remains of last week’s massive Lockport fire has been positively identified as 14-year-old Joe Phillips.

Officials and family members confirmed this on Friday afternoon.

The fire at High Tread International, a Lockport tire plant, began on Wednesday evening and burned for days. Fire crews spent a total of 66 hours on the fire, and every agency in Niagara County sent help.

The amount of water used by firefighters caused a number of water main breaks in the city.

After sending smoke into the sky that could be seen all the way in Erie County, crews later searched the scene and located a body. The body could not easily be identified as Phillips at first.

The dental records of the Lockport teen were submitted in the process of identification, but they were too old for use. DNA had to be used to identify him.

The cause of the fire is still in question, as officials told News 4 that the property owners did nothing wrong that would have started the blaze. It is not clear whether the situation was arson or accidental. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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