JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – The owner of a former Jamestown factory that caught fire last week might face more legal trouble, as Jamestown officials work to see the cleanup process through.
On Wednesday, a massive fire broke out at 1061 Allen Street, the site of a former Crawford Furniture factory. While a cause remains under investigation, officials with the Jamestown Department of Development are working to continue cleanup efforts.
The problem property has been on the city’s radar since last winter, when it was deemed on verge of a “catastrophic collapse”.
Development Director Crystal Surdyk is working with the EPA, State DEC and others to assess next steps for the cleanup process; which she says will likely take months.
Furthermore, she seeks to have the building’s owner held accountable. Over time the owner, Surdyk says, has ignored countless code violations, which could have led to the fire’s ignition.
In order to prevent future decay of similar buildings across Jamestown, Surdyk seeks a “vacant building ordinance” which she says is the first step to help prevent these symbols of Jamestown’s past from going up in flames.
“I’m disappointed, I’m very, very disappointed, we’ve worked very hard to avoid exactly this over the last year and a half or so, but, this is where we are at, and, all the more reason to have these policies in place,” explained Surdyk.
The building’s owner was set to appear in court last Friday as part of ongoing litigation with the City of Jamestown to get the site cleaned up. Since the fire, the Development Director and the City’s Legal team plan to explore further legal options to hold him accountable, as the emergency cleanup process is expected to be very pricy as well.