FALCONER – The effort to recover from a devastating fire that broke out Wednesday morning in the center of Falconer continues.
Fire crews were called to the fire at 29-39 W. Main St. just before 8 a.m. Wednesday and found a three story structure fully involved in flames. The cold weather and wind made battling the blaze difficult, and it wasn’t long before the fire was raging and spread to two adjacent buildings as crews worked to try and keep it contained.
In addition to the Falconer Volunteer Fire Department, representatives and equipment from more than a dozen other companies were also called to the scene, including Jamestown, Celoron, Randolph, Fluvanna, Kennedy, Frewsburg, Busti, Sinclairville, Ellery Center, Gerry and Chautauqua fire crews, among others. There were even volunteers from as far away as Corry Pa., on hand, offering help.
After several hours, the fire was finally contained, but not until after destroying a total of four buildings in the heart of the downtown portion of the village.
No injuries were reported but more than a dozen residents who lived in the apartments of the buildings are now left without a home or personal belongings. Several businesses were also affected, including Genesis Enterprises/Cassco Property Management, Better Life Nutrition, Village Salon and Roots Salon.
The cause for the fire is still under investigation.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan commented on the fire during Wednesday night’s county legislature meeting, updating officials on the status as well as commending the firefighters who worked through tough conditions to put the fire out.
“It’s a true gift we have in this county, when ten fire departments, paid and volunteer, all come together with no injuries and no loss of life,” Horrigan said. “Four buildings were destroyed and that Main Street in Falconer will probably remain closed for the next three days.They are working through insurance claims, and fire investigators are looking into it. But I think anywhere we can, we need to acknowledge and appreciate volunteer fire service and encourage more and more younger people to step forward, because without that, we’re in serious trouble.”
The American Red Cross is offering immediate assistance to 19 individuals affected by the fire. Other community fundraisers are also expected in the coming days to help those who lost everything in the blaze.