Will tire recycler rebuild after massive Lockport fire?

Posted at 10:28 AM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 18:57:00-04

Will High Tread International (HTI) rebuild after a massive Lockport fire destroyed a large portion of the facility in early August?

Residents who live close to the fire scene have expressed concerns that the company is not located far enough from residential homes. Because of a history of fires at the tire recycling plant, residents want city officials to make sure there are new set-back rules enforced for any rebuilding.

See video of the fire here.

Over 200 firefighters from multiple counties worked to put out the fire.  It also caused the mandatory evacuation of several streets around the facility.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly went to Lockport to find out the latest.

According to Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey, the owner of HTI said he plans to rebuild but it could still take a substantial amount of time to finish cleaning up acres of burned debris.  The cleanup is being watched by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation because the burned rubble has to be disposed of according to NYSDEC rules.

The police investigation into the fire continues but is getting closer to being finished.

A special "Appreciation Day" is being planned for early October to thank all the fire crews that came to Lockport to help put out the blaze.

Several residents voiced concerns about the location of the facility being too close to residential homes at a special meeting in city hall last week.

While HTI has the legal right to stay in its current location, Mayor McCaffrey said the city is looking at creating a new law that would require any rebuilt structures to be placed further away from homes than even NYS sit-back requirements call for.  The corporation counsel for Lockport is exploring those options.

Most of the fire happened in warehouse / storage areas at the tire recycler and that has allowed the company to resume over 60% of it operations.  Trucks carrying large loads of crumb rubber were seen leaving the facility.  HTI has a long history in Lockport and employs 100 people.

Mayor McCaffrey said she hopes to balance the needs of the company with residents complaints when it comes time for rebuilding.