Major Fire At Former Bethlehem Steel Site

Engine 1 supplying water.
Image courtesy the Buffalo News.

Early arriving units found heavy fire in the 1,000,000+ square foot complex.

In the early morning of Wednesday, November 9, Hamburg Fire Control began to receive multiple reports of heavy smoke in the north end of town. The source was quickly determined to be a very large fire occurring at a storage facility operating in the former Bethlehem Steel facility in the City of Lackawanna.

Chief Kevin Jewett of the Woodlawn Fire Company was investigating the smoke, and offered assistance from the Town of Hamburg to the Lackawanna Fire Department; the offer was quickly accepted. Initially, Woodlawn 6 (tower ladder) and Newton Abbott 1 (engine) were requested to the scene, in addition to numerous units en route or on location from the City of Buffalo.

Newton Abbott and City of Buffalo firefighters establish water supply.

Newton Abbott and City of Buffalo firefighters establish water supply.

Engine 1, led by second assistant chief Chad Locher, hooked into a hydrant on the corner of Route 5 and Lincoln Street in Lackawanna, and laid supply line to Woodlawn 6. This operation continued for approximately twelve hours.

Newton Abbott 6 was eventually called for a short time to provide an additional elevated master stream. Tower ladders from Scranton Fire Company (Hamburg), Reserve, and Seneca Hose (both West Seneca) also responded to the scene. Multiple other companies from the Towns of Hamburg and West Seneca staged for possible deployment into the scene, and throughout the area, in the event of secondary fires caused by falling, burning debris.

At approximately 9:00 PM, the volunteer companies on scene, including Newton Abbott 1, were demobilized and returned in service.

Heavy smoke covered much of the Town of Hamburg.

Heavy smoke covered much of the Town of Hamburg. Image courtesy the Buffalo News.

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The “header,” or smoke column, as viewed from the boat launch at Hamburg Town Park. Image courtesy The Buffalo News.

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The “header,” or smoke column, as viewed from Chestnut Ridge Park. Image courtesy The Buffalo News.

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