Massive Fire Destroys East Side Warehouse

September 9, 2010 Updated Sep 10, 2010 at 8:38 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 9, 2010 Updated Sep 10, 2010 at 8:38 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Buffalo firefighters battled a four alarm fire that raged at an industrial complex at Bailey and Dingens in the city of Buffalo Thursday morning.

Firefighters responded to a call just after 4a.m. at the Superior Pallets Inc facility. Flames and smoke billowed into the morning sky, with nearly every firefighter in Buffalo responding.

The blaze was intense, growing to 4 alarms by 7a.m. Smoke and flames could be seen all over Western New York, as far away as Chestnut Ridge in Orchard Park.

Fire officials finally got the fire under control by mid morning, but remained on scene throughout the day to extinguish the many remaining hot spots.

The fire was fueled by thousands of wooden and plastic pallets along with small propane tanks that exploded, rocking the neighborhood in the early hours Thursday morning.

Fire investigators estimate the damage at $2.5 million to the structure, $1.5 million to the contents, and $5,000 to an adjacent property located on James E. Casey Way.

The fire delayed operations for the First Student School Bus company, which is located near the scene of the fire. The Citadel radio staff at WGRF FM 97 Rock, 103.3FM, and 104.1FM were asked to evacuate their studios located near the fire scene. Some businesses even had to close for the day including a day care center just two buildings down from the fire. "We usually have 40 to 50 kids in day care but we called off day care... because of the smoke and the difficulty getting into the parking lot," Debbie Merrifield, at the Joan Male Family Support Center, said.

Dingens Street was closed between Bailey and Weiss, re-routing the Route 19 NFTA Bus, but was reopened late Thursday night.

Crews have already started the demolition process of what is left of the structure, and firefighters remained on scene until late at night. Investigators will continue looking into the cause of the fire on Friday.