BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The vacant building that was destroyed in an early morning fire on Sycamore street was one of the oldest buildings in the Queen City. It dates back all the way to 1850 and now all that’s left behind of more than 150 years of history is a pile of rubble.
“It’s one of the grand dames of Buffalo, this building was going to be restored we were going to start in the spring we were just waiting for a grant from the state,” said Rocco Termini, building owner.
Building owner Rocco Termini watched his hopes of bringing new life to one of the most historic buildings in Buffalo go up in flames.
“I am very disappointed because we had some great ideas for this building and again we were going to start in a couple months,” said Termini.
“We’ve been actively working for the last 6 months on coming up with a new plan for this building and putting it back into use for the community so it’s pretty devastating here this morning,” said Jessie Fisher, Preservation Buffalo Niagara Executive Director.
The vacant building at the corner of Sycamore and Michigan was rich in history, playing a role in the underground railroad.
“This building actually dates to about the Civil war, it’s one of the oldest buildings left in downtown Buffalo. It and it’s twin sister next door were built right around the same time,” said Fisher.
The 2-alarm fire sparked around 3 o’clock this morning. Part of the vacant building collapsed, forcing firefighters to back off. It was challenging for crews to reach parts of it, but they did manage to protect other buildings nearby.
“We own the other building here also so we’ll probably restore that building and just use the vacant lot as parking I would think at this point,” said Termini.
As for the building that burned down,” I don’t want to speculate but it wasn’t cooking, it wasn’t defective wiring, it wasn’t the stove left on, it wasn’t pipes so, it comes down to maybe there was a human touch in that,” said Peter Kertzie, Buffalo Fire Division Chief.
Crews are now working to demolish the building. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.