More than twelve hours after the massive fire at Industrial Steelworks Park in Lackawanna first erupted, fire crews have finally managed to stop its spread.
"The fire has been contained," Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield told 7 Eyewitness News at 9:00 p.m.
However, dozens of firefighters from several communities, including Hamburg and Buffalo, were still at the scene Wednesday night trying to put out the flames in parts of the building.
Thick, black smoke is billowing from the site. The plume is hanging over Lackawanna and could be seen from Buffalo during daylight. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the plume in Orchard Park. Authorities are urging people living in Lackawanna to Athol Springs to shelter in place.
On Facebook, Hamburg police issued a warning to residents. They say folks should keep doors and windows closed and avoid going outside.
The fire also prompted school evacuations for Frontier High School, Middle School, Big Tree, Cloverbank, and Blasdell elementary schools. T changing weather dynamic caused officials to relocate students to various local school districts with their teachers.
Hamburg police say there is heavy smoke in the area with falling, burning debris in town.
An eyewitness who lives a block away said he heard sirens that didn't stop. "I couldn't believe it. It looked like 9/11," the eyewitness said.
Town of Hamburg Emergency Services are asking homeowners dealing with fire debris on their property to message them on their Facebook page and wait for a response from the EPA. Officials urge people to not touch the debris with bare hands.
The fire was called in just before 8:00 a.m. Wednesday. There are reports the fire started inside a commercial building.
Dispatchers say the initial fire call was for Republic Steel.
It is unclear if anyone was hurt or if anyone was inside the building.
Lackawanna police say Route 5 inbound is closed at Lincoln Avenue. Buffalo police are closing Route 5 outbound at Tifft Street.
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