Blaze at wood pallet company lights up pre-dawn sky in Buffalo, NY; minor injuries reported

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fire at pallet company lights up sky in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A huge warehouse fire fed by wooden pallets and propane lit up the pre-dawn sky in western New York’s largest city Thursday, raging until firefighters brought it under control hours later.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries in the blaze, which could be seen for miles under billows of heavy black smoke. The fire at Superior Pallets Inc. destroyed the warehouse and was being investigated.

“It looked like the sun was rising out of the north,” said Alex Szymanski, who works at Great Lakes Electronics, one of several businesses that were temporarily off limits because of danger that the fire would spread.

The fire was reported just after 4 a.m. and rapidly accelerated, fire officials said. Witnesses reporting popping sounds, possibly explosions, as the 50,000-square-foot warehouse containing pallets, tow motors and forklift fuel burned.

Superior Pallets employee Joe Gervaise said he smelled the fire from neighboring Cheektowaga as he drove in for his morning shift.

“I thought it was truck tires or something” until he reached a traffic detour, he told WIVB.

“I said, ‘Oh no, that’s where I work,’” said Gervaise, adding that the fire was discovered by a co-worker who arrived to open up the business.

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