At least 30 departments respond to Frankfort fire

FRANKFORT, N.Y. (WKTV) - It's been a part of the culture in Frankfort for decades and on Wednesday afternoon, a fire changed the skyline of the village forever.

Late Wednesday evening crews from more than 20 different fire departments remained on the scene of the former Union Tools factory on Industrial Drive. Flames tore through the former factory right around two Wednesday afternoon.

The initial call was for a fire in Building 8. That quickly spread and after all was said and done 15 out of the 35 buildings on the property are considered a total loss.

At one point Wednesday afternoon nearly three dozen fire departments were on the scene from four different counties.

No injuries have been reported.

The building has been vacant since Union Fork and Hoe was sold in 2006.

There was movement on the property recently though. The NYS DEC ordered the contaminated site to be cleaned up and contractors had been in and out of the property. "I know that there was debris that was being removed from all of the buildings. They had sent the work crew for asbestos abatement classes..and they just came back on the site within the last two weeks," said Frankfort Mayor Frank Moracco.

The buildings were slated to be torn down. Moracco worked for the company in the past-- and is familiar with what is inside the building where the fire started. "I can tell you up in building 8 there is an awful lot of old dry timber that they use for the 10 by 10 joints all the way up. They had a lot of storage units that were made out of wood."

There were talks about possibly evacuating some people living in the area because of the contamination at the property...but officials decided it was not necessary. "The contamination that was on site, it was on the ground. It wasn't actually in the building so, no. As far as fumes hitting the air, we're not concerned with that at this point," said Moracco.

Frankfort Fire Chief, Charles Conigliaro, said over 700 feet of three story high buildings were burning at one point. A lack of water, intense heat, and the size of the flames were a problem for all crews on scene, Conigliaro said. "It was very challenging we are very thankful. Resources as far as 30 miles away are here to help."

Several hundred people stood and watched the spectical throughout the day, Wednesday. Many of them either worked at the former largest employer in the Village or knew somebody who did.

"I know a lot of people that worked here," said Shannon Bono. "It was pretty much the center of Frankfort. It is what made this town."

Fire crews were to remain on the scene late into night Wednesday where the focus would shift from getting the fire extinguished to figuring out how it started, said Conigliaro.

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