One year after HTI fire in Lockport, an attempt to turn tragedy into legacy

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – This week will be one year since the massive HTI tire recycling plant fire on Stevens Street.

A 14-year-old boy died in the fire, which also destroyed the plant. Over 300 firefighters were on scene at the fire for two days, and the fire almost shut down the city for several days.

Joe Phillips, 14, and a friend recorded themselves setting fire to parts of an empty building on the property. Phillips died in the fire.

Some neighbors of the property are trying to turn the tragedy into a legacy by getting the word out to teens that first responders are there to help.

Kathy O’Keefe, who owns a Stevens Street shop across from the site of the HTI fire, is organizing “Lock City Deckfest” to raise money to create a program letting teens know that they can call 911 when there’s a problem.

“I just couldn’t grasp that we lost a young child like that because of a choice,” O’Keefe, who owns Windsor Village, said.

For more information on Lock City Deckfest, click here. 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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