Buffalo Lawmakers Want Industrial Emergency Plan

July 26, 2011 Updated Jul 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM EDT

By John Borsa

July 26, 2011 Updated Jul 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Thick, black smoke spilled into Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood on July 13, leaving many to wonder if the air was safe.

The smoke came from a massive industrial fire at Niagara Lubricants on Chandler Street, which burned out of control for several hours.

The company manufactures grease, oils and other lubricants.

The not-for-profit Clean Air Coalition recently said high levels of benzine were found in the area surrounding the site of the fire.

Residents were advised to stay indoors with their windows shut, but were never evacuated when the fire destroyed the decades old business.

"It's a matter of public health and safety is the number one concern. Above and beyond anything else," said David Franczyk, president of the Buffalo Common Council.

"The council unanimously adopted the idea that we have to make sure that Buffalo neighborhoods and people are safer in the event there's a disaster, an environmental disaster," he said.

The council is hoping to work with industrial businesses which are located near to or within residential areas to come up with a plan to prevent disaster.

"I don't mind living around industrial things but I want to make sure that we're safe," said Black Rock resident Mary Taber. "I want to make sure that all the preventatives that can be done are being done. I know nothing is 100 percent, but I want it to be 98.9"