Cause of Warehouse Fire Remains Unknown

By Adam Chick

January 3, 2013 Updated Jan 4, 2013 at 12:37 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) What quickly burst into a massive blaze around 10:30 Wednesday night in Binghamton continues to keep fire investigators at bay.

The fire continued to burn late Thursday afternoon, and crews were expected to remain at 115 Montgomery St. well into Thursday night.

Fire investigator's say it will take time to determine a cause that left the former Pa's Woodshed a mound of charred concrete and stone.

"I saw early this morning that it was up in flames," said Darlene Todd who witnessed the fire.

The old building that was once home to a 24-foot chair little more than a pile of rubble and burned out walls. Dozens of cars drove past the scene trying to catch a glimpse of what remains. When firefighters arrived on the scene Wednesday, they knew the building was a lost cause.

"When the first crews arrived there was heavy smoke," said Binghamton Fire Marshal Daniel Eggleston. "They could barely even see the building last night when they arrived. We found some dead hydrants that were down here at the end of a dead end road. There were definitely water supply issues."

Eggleston says he's not ruling out squatters -- known to use the building as shelter, especially during cold nights like Wednesday -- who may have started a fire that spread by accident, or even arson.

The building is owned by the LCP Group in Vestal. A man claiming to be a part of that ownership group says there were plans to renovate the building before the fire. He declined to elaborate, but fire officials say they were aware of potential plans.

"There were talks of tearing parts of it down and possibly rebuilding parts of it," Eggleston said.

Now the only plan in the building's future is demolishing what's left and cleaning up. Firefighters have concerns about kids playing in the burned out building.

"The walls are still collapsing as we speak. Every half hour or so another wall falls. So it's not safe to be near the building. That's why we're eventually going to knock the walls in," Eggleston said.

Mayor Matt Ryan said the number of vacant buildings like the former Pa's Woodshed are always a concern, but they're difficult to monitor.

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