BUFFALO, N.Y. — Demolition began on Tuesday of what remains of a building at 745 Main Street where Buffalo firefighter Jason Arno lost his life fighting a massive blaze on March 1.
Fire investigators have wrapped up their work at the scene, which means that the burned-out structure can be torn down.
Crews from Empire Dismantlement began the job on the Washington Street side of the building, clearing debris to allow access to the rear portion of the three-story structure.
They are expected to work their way from the rear of the building on Washington to the front side on Main Street according to Catherine Amdur, the city's Commissioner of Permit & Inspection Services.
Amdur said the crews will demolish from the center and bring the side walls in, but that because the building is structurally compromised it's going to be a slow and methodical task, as crews also have to take care not to damage a structure attached to it.
"Once demolition starts it typically goes very quickly," said Amdur. "But because the building is structurally compromised they're going to be a little more careful they may have to stop during the demolition to load out material to gain access for their equipment to get in there. So, it's going to be a day-by-day plan. If you talk to any demolition contractor they always say, you start with one plan and then you take it hour by hour."
Primarily using an excavator, it's expected to take crews a week to bring what's left of the building down, another week to load out all the debris, and perhaps another to fill in the hole that will be left before a bulldozer is brought in to grade the site.
This also means that the sections of Main and Washington Streets between Tupper and Goodell, which have been closed since the fire on March 1, will remain so a while more, although it is expected that main Street will open prior to Washington.