Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

July 30, 2013

Arson?

Police looking for three kids who were spotted near Kohl's building just before fire

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

Thick black smoke could be seen for miles as city and South Lockport firefighters battled a fire Tuesday afternoon that engulfed the former Kohl's Cycle Sales building on Gooding Street.

No injuries were reported. Demolition is coming soon for what's left of the city-owned building, officials said.

Lockport Police are also looking for three kids who were reportedly spotted in the bushes near the building just prior to the fire breaking out. The kids reportedly took off in opposite directions when a city worker called out to them.

The fact the building does not have any utilities raises some questions, said Police Chief Larry Eggert.

"It's obviously a fire with a suspicious origin," he said. "We're looking for them because we want to see what they know about the fire."

Lockport Police and Fire departments received the 911 call at just after 1 p.m. Tuesday reporting the blaze. South Lockport Fire Co. also responded to the fire, which spread close to a nearby railroad trestle. A heavy fire could be seen through the building windows as far as Gooding and Pine streets intersection.

At about 2 p.m. the building's north wall collapsed. Firefighters on two ladder trucks doused the building, which then yielded white smoke at about 2:15 p.m.

While firefighters worked to put out the blaze, onlookers packed the area of Gooding and Pine streets, many armed with cell phones and cameras. Another throng of people lined up at where Gooding meets Grand Street. The massive pillar of smoke could be seen as far west as Niagara University in Lewiston, as far south as Eastern Hills Mall and as far east as Medina.

Kevin Burkwit of Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride, which is now on Gooding Street, said he saw smoke coming from the west side of the building and called 911. A dispatcher said firefighters were already on their way.

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