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

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

Police wanted Lockport Cave employees to keep their side of Gooding clear of vehicles and people while the building was on fire. If a transformer on any nearby utility pole blew up, it could bring down the lines over the Cave lot, employees were warned. Plus, if the wind changed, heavy smoke would be headed that way.

"They wanted us to keep the lot clear," Burkwit said.

The 53,000-square-foot building, which has an address listed as 71 Gooding St. and sits at the top of the Clinton Street hill, was taken over by the city in 2008. It was originally built in 1875 for a brass bed business, which shipped the beds down the Erie Canal, said Mayor Michael Tucker. It has since housed a number of different businesses, including Wisniewski's Slip Co.

Before Tuesday's fire, all of the windows to the two-story structure had been broken out and the front wall started caving in. The city has tried before to take the building down, but had faced resistance from the state historic preservation office.

In May 2011 the Niagara County Brownfield Development Corp. gave the city $200,000 for asbestos abatement at 71 Gooding St.

Eggert said if anyone has information about the fire they should contact LPD detectives at 439-6666.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.

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