Fire Burns Through Historic Binghamton Building

By WBNG News

December 22, 2010 Updated Dec 23, 2010 at 11:16 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A massive fire wipes out the interior of a historic downtown building and damages two others.

Firefighters spent more than 15 hours extinguish flames.

Action News Reporter Leigh Dana has more from the scene on Chenango Street with more on what happened.

No one was hurt in the fire.

Still, many people who work and live in the city are calling what happened here tragic.

An orange glow could be seen for miles across the city, as flames soared out the top of the 5th floor of the Midtown Mall building.

"We live at Binghamton Housing and we were watching from the solarium up there and the flames were going at least 20 feet high," said Leroy French.

Firefighters responded to the scene shortly after 9:30 PM Tuesday.

They tried to make their way into the building but could only go as far as the second floor.

Not only was the fire heavy, but holes in the floor from construction also made the scene extremely dangerous.

"It was almost an impossible situation to put people inside the building," said Assistant Fire Chief Larry Ostanek.

"I was here around 9 o'clock last night when it started. We were standing on the curb and we got pushed back to the stairs it was so hot," said William Perry, not related to the famous Architect, Issac Perry.

A man by the name of Larry Gladstone bought the Midtown Mall building to create student housing.

Construction workers were working on gutting the building at the time, which has been vacant since 1981.

And now, the historical site is completely ruined on the inside.

Only the façade remains intact.

Water used to hose down the fire turned to icicles.

Cindy Machovec remembers shopping around here as kid with her mom, "I was just amazed. I mean this building has been here forever and ever. It's just devastating."

The Assistant Fire Chief tells Action News this is the worst fire he's seen downtown in his 24 year career.