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Developer plans to move ahead after former Camillus Cutlery fire

Insurance agents inspected damage one day after fire destroyed a building on the former Camillus Cutlery complex, while fire officials investigated what generated the blaze.
Photos: Fire at old Camillus Cutlery building

Camillus (WSYR-TV) – Insurance agents inspected damage one day after fire destroyed a building on the former Camillus Cutlery complex, while fire officials investigated what generated the blaze.

According to fire officials, the structure of the building and its age contributed to the fire.

"It's an old structure, with heavy timber flooring - lots of spaces - over the years they coated the floors with oils and sawdust -- the fire went up the wall and started spreading horizontally across the floor," said Kevin Wisely of the Department of Emergency Management.

The complex's owner - Tom Blair of Sweet Spot Development - said his company intends to move forward with plans to install medical offices and apartments.

The building, which was already slated for demolition, was destroyed in the blaze.

Camillus Mayor Patricia Butler said that she had been fielding questions about what was burning within the building that fed the conflagration.

"I know everyone wants immediate answers, and everything to be resolved right away, but we're doing the best we can in moving forward," Butler said.

The fire began just before 1 p.m. on Monday.

Fire officials say the blaze began during demolition work at the old factory building.

Three people were hurt, according to officials at the scene. One firefighter suffered a concussion after being injured by a piece of equipment and two National Grid workers were also hurt after being struck by high pressure water streams. One was taken to the hospital for evaluation and the other refused treatment at the scene.

The fire sparked a massive response that hasn’t been seen for years in Onondaga County.

Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management Kevin Wisely says 24 agencies from Onondaga and Cayuga counties were called in to help douse the flames.

145 firefighters from three dozen departments responded to the blaze.

Flames could be seen rising high above the roof of the two-story building and smoke billowing from the building could be seen for miles.

Tankers filled portable ponds near the scene, while a bit farther away, firefighters were rotated in and out, giving them ample time to rest up and refuel.

“We have departments drafting water out of the creek to other engines, then pumping it to other apparatus that are flowing water onto the structure,” Wisely said.

Police asked the community to avoid the Village of Camillus through early Tuesday morning to allow crews to continue to put out hot spots.

Authorities are also warning area residents that they may see a temporary decrease in their water pressure as crews remain on the scene. A Boil Water Advisory was posted for area residents until all water samples confirm the water is safe to drink.

Camillus Cutlery dated to the 1870s. It went bankrupt in 2007.


Fire crews are responding to a serious fire at the former Camillus Cutlery building. (WSYR-TV)
Fire crews are responding to a serious fire at the former Camillus Cutlery building. (WSYR-TV)
Fire crews are responding to a serious fire at the former Camillus Cutlery building. (WSYR-TV)
Fire crews are responding to a serious fire at the former Camillus Cutlery building. (WSYR-TV)
Fire crews responded to a serious fire at the former Camillus Cutlery building on Monday.
Fire crews responded to a serious fire at the former Camillus Cutlery building on Monday.
Fire crews expect to be at former Camillus Cutlery site through Tuesday morning
February 11, 2013

Camillus (WSYR-TV) – Police are asking the community to avoid the Village of Camillus through early Tuesday morning to allow crews to continue fighting a massive fire that broke out Monday afternoon at the old Camillus Cutlery factory.

Authorities are also warning area residents that they may see a temporary decrease in their water pressure as crews continue to battle the blaze.

NewsChannel 9 spoke with Camillus Mayor Patricia Butler at the scene. She told us that one firefighter was injured by a piece of equipment, but is expected to be okay.

The fire began shortly after 1 p.m. Monday. Fire departments from Syracuse's western suburbs and beyond were also called in for support.

According to Mayor Butler, water tankers were called in to help support the firefighters because there weren't enough hydrants for firefighters to connect to.

The facility that once housed a prominent Central New York manufacturer was sold to a company that planned on making it a medical wellness center.

The building that is burning was not purchased for use in the medical office complex, Butler said.

Fire officials say that the blaze was caused by maintenance workers preparing the building for demolition.

Main Street is expected to be closed past 6 a.m., according to officials at the scene.

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