Tonawanda News

Local News

May 17, 2009

NORTH TONAWANDA: Fire causes heavy damage

Investigators still looking into cause of Oliver Street blaze

BY John J. Hopkins

john.hopkins@tonawanda-news.com

Eight people were displaced and two Oliver Street buildings were heavily damaged by a fast-moving fire early Saturday morning.

The blaze began at Mark’s Food Market, a cinder block and glass building at 290 Oliver at Schenck Street and quickly spread to a neighboring 21⁄2 story wood frame building at 286 Oliver St.

North Tonawanda firefighters were at the scene within two minutes of the 12:08 a.m. report. Firefighters quickly tapped three nearby fire hydrants, including one directly across the street from the deli and were using three hoses to pour water on the fire from the front and side of the building.

“The first engine arriving reported heavy fire coming from 290 Oliver,” Assistant Fire Chief Richard Kozak said. “It was already spreading to 286 Oliver.”

Additional hoses were used to quell the blaze, and two water cannons from an aerial ladder were also employed during the fire fight. Kozak said all North Tonawanda’s apparatus were used and estimated there were 40 firefighters at the scene.

Kozak said the fire at first was trapped in the drop ceiling of the market, a delicatessen. When it reached the outside, it appeared to have extended from the deli’s wall directly to the eaves and attic at 286 Oliver. The two buildings are only a few inches apart.

“A second good-sized building becoming involved in fire poses a major threat,” Kozak said. “We already had three apartments to search, and then we had to check the second floor next door with a fire overhead in the attic.”

The fire was discovered by a tenant in an apartment behind the deli, Eric Damon. He said he was sitting on the stoop outside his apartment at the time and when he saw smoke between the two buildings and went to investigate.

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