4 Alarm Industrial Fire In Buffalo

July 13, 2011 Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 1:52 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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July 13, 2011 Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 1:52 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) The investigation begins at Niagara Lubricant into a devastating fire that sent smoke billowing into the air for hours Wednesday.

Buffalo firefighters were at the Niagara Lubricant industrial complex at 164 Chandler St near Military Rd. in Buffalo, since shortly before 6a.m. Wednesday.

The roof, and parts of the structure collapsed, while firefighters let the contents of the building burn.

Power utility National Grid turned off local power Wednesday morning, in fear that a collapsed building would have taken down power lines.

Grote Street was closed because it was parallel to the smoke plume, making it difficult to see in the area. Police were patrolling the street to make sure that residents have their windows closed at all times.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spill response was also on-site because of the hazardous nature of the smoke.

Byproducts of the grease and oil used in manufacturing of the lubricant are present in the smoke and can be harmful if breathed in.

Three firefighters were taken to ECMC for treatment.

In a morning news conference held at 8:30a.m., that you saw LIVE on Channel 7, Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield urged residents in the Elmwood, Amherst, and Reservation Street areas to close their doors and windows. Buffalo State College is located near the facility.

Despite the warnings, some residents still came out to witness the amazing fire scene. One eyewitness we spoke to took their child to their grandparent's home. Other eyewitnesses talked about their concern for safety, considering the chemicals that are burning in the facility.

Heavy black smoke that was pouring into the air had a chemical smell to it. The smoke was coming from the building for hours.

Whitfield noted that the facility houses oil, grease, and solvents. The mix of those chemicals caused some explosions when the fire first broke out, with those images captured by the Eyewitness News SKYCAM.

A truck from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was brought in to help fight the fire.

The blaze grew to three alarms shortly after 6a.m. Wednesday morning, then to four shortly before 7a.m.

Firefighters were ordered out of the building for their safety when the third alarm was called early this morning.

The Fire Commissioner confirmed that there were no employees inside the structure at the time the fire broke out.

Channel 7 will have the latest as the investigation into the fire continues.