OSWEGO – A large fire has destroyed at least two downtown Oswego businesses this morning (May 27).
The fire was reported to 911 shortly after 9 a.m. by an employee of Paura’s Liquors, West Bridge and Third streets. Route 104 (Bridge Street) has been closed in that area..
“The fire is out, everyone is safe and the building will be demolished today,” said Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow on a Facebook post. “We are currently working on accommodating those displaced and demolishing the structure.”
Firefighters from several departments responded to battle the blaze.
“Excellent job by the Oswego Fire Department containing the fire, making sure the building occupants were safe and protecting the surrounding buildings. Also a job well done by the Oswego Police Department and Department of Public Works as all agencies coordinated and worked together. Also, a huge thank you to all the other responding agencies from our surrounding towns and throughout the County. The American Red Cross is on scene as well,” Barlow continued.
The fire reportedly started in a second floor apartment above the liquor store.
Paura’s and the adjoining store, an E-smoke store are a total loss.
Firefighters had to wait for National Grid to secure the natural gas supply. They turned off the meters.
“We asked them to turn it off at the curb but we couldn’t there’s no curb shut off here. So it took around an hour to secure the gas,” according to assistant chief John Chwago.
The second floor collapsed around mid-morning.
The building will be razed as Barlow said, “We are currently working on accommodating those displaced and demolishing the structure.”
“The good thing is it only got into that next house (on Third Street) minimally and the only damage to the Copy Center (next door on West Bridge) is some water and smoke. The fellas did a great job of keeping it from traveling,” Chwago said.
Chwago and the rest of the responders were offered food and care from local eateries.
“One last thank you to McDonalds, CAMS pizzeria and others for feeding and caring for our first responders,” Barlow said.
A couple people were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries – just minor stuff, nothing substantial, the assistant chief said.
“They initially tried to go interior, but within 30 seconds they were driven right back out and we had to fight it from the outside of the building,” he said. “OPD arrived first and started checking to make sure everybody got out; as best we can tell everybody is out and accounted for.”
One bystander said he could see the smoke from as far away as Scriba.
Paura’s has been in business at that location since the early 1970s. There is no word on whether she plans to rebuild or re-open in a new location.
The families who lived in the second floor apartments are being assisted by the Red Cross and Salvation Army.