Overnight fire in Turin deemed suspicious, officials say

Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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TURIN, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’s not much left at the scene of the “Brick Block” fire in Turin, except for debris, a demolition team, and the volunteer firefighters who stayed through the night.

“It’s been a very long day, about 13 to 14 hours now,” said Jason Smith, a Constableville firefighter.

The building, at the corner of East Main Street and State Route 26, was built in the 1800s. Officials say there is no electricity in the building, and it has been abandoned for several years. That’s why officials are calling it suspicious.

Lewis County manager Ryan Piche said the county has been working for a number of months to see what could be done with the property, including demolishing it.

Just this week, the county was looking for an environmental firm to assess the property.

At one point during the demolition, while crews doused hotspots, the right side of the building collapsed unexpectedly, ripping down power lines with it.

A nearby utility pole just a few feet from a fire truck snapped due to the collapse.

“There was significant difficulty due to the size of the structure and the type of construction,” said Bob Mackenzie, Lewis County Director of Fire and Emergency Management.

South Lewis Middle and High School closed Thursday because the fire had taken so much water from the hydrant system. The village is on a conserve water notice.

“I’m told it is replenishing right now. There is not a water crisis, just a conserve water,” Mackenzie said.

The investigation is ongoing.

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