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Dozens of firefighters work three-alarm fire at Buffalo Grand Hotel early Thursday

One firefighter injured, guests evacuated
Posted at 3:50 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 18:47:36-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Dozens of Buffalo firefighters were called out to battle a fire that broke out at the Buffalo Grand Hotel early Thursday morning.

The Buffalo Fire Department told Channel 7 News the three-alarm fire started around 1:00 a.m. in an area that was under renovation near the hotel's ballroom. It spread to an adjacent parking ramp from there.

Harry Stinson. who owns the hotel, said the ballroom was destroyed along with the kitchen next to it. The room was going to be revealed for a New Year's Eve celebration on Friday night, but Stinson said that won't happen anymore. He said tickets for the event and hotel rooms have been refunded to guests staying there.

"I don't think it was an accident," said Stinson on Thursday as investigators and accelerant canines combed the remains.

The department says it evacuated more than 40 guests in the hotel when they arrived because they were not sure of the extent of the fire. Those guests were allowed back in a couple of hours later after crews determined the fire wouldn't spread to the hotel area.

Buffalo Police blocked Church Street outside the hotel, right at the exit ramp from the 190 just before 3:00 a.m. It was reopened by 4:00.

The fire department says it took them until after 4:00 a.m. to bring the fire completely under control; it also knocked out power to the hotel.

One firefighter was hurt when they fell down some stairs and was taken to ECMC to be evaluated.

Division Chief Daniel Bossi said, "It was a lot of hard work. There was a lot of walking and a long hose lay, and there was a lot of shuffling of crews. But with only having one minor injury, I think we escaped this pretty well."

No one else was hurt.

The fire department estimates the fire did $3 million in damage. Stinson said he has invested between $7-$8 million in the hotel that he bought for $20 million. He hopes to have the damages fixed by summer.

A notice of condemnation was posted on the front entrance Thursday, but Stinson hopes to have rooms reopened to guests as early as Friday.