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The cleanup is massive at downtown Buffalo's Ramada after Dec. 30 arson

A huge piece of cleaning equipment sits at the entrance to the hotel.
Mike Desmond
/
WBFO News
The clean-up continues at downtown Buffalo's Ramada hotel after a Dec. 30 fire authorities say was arson.

It's going to be a big week for Harry Stinson, owner of what was being turned from the Buffalo Grand Hotel to a Ramada when an arsonist started a major fire inside on Dec. 30.

While ServPro machines and workers continue to dry out the hotel and clean up most of the fire areas, insurers will be checking in Tuesday with estimates of repair costs. ATF agents are expected to report in on what the agency's investigation found at the site where the fire started.

A NOTICE OF CONDEMNATION has been posted on a hotel window.
Mike Desmond
/
WBFO News

Damage has been estimated at $3 million, but Stinson said that may change.

"From the investigation insurance company, our examiners, the Serv-Pro people who are doing all the cleaning also expect to table their full budget tomorrow," he said. "And then our construction crew is just assessing the scenario, as well. But it's been a bit difficult for them to do that because, frankly, the kitchen area is still regarded as a crime scene and so it's taped off."

Stinson said the kitchen needs to be completely rebuilt, as the fire reached 2,000 degrees, melting steel and vaporizing brick as Buffalo firefighters fought the flames with vast amounts of water.

ServPro trucks line the wall of the hotel Monday.
Mike Desmond
/
WBFO News
ServPro trucks line the wall of the hotel Monday.

And it isn't just the fire damage. He said the smoke and water also left a mess.

"The guest rooms at the hotel were not part of this series of unfortunate events. But as anyone who has had a major fire will tell you, especially the firemen, the water and the smoke are pervasive everywhere in the whole property. So we're just giving it an enormous deep clean right now in the guest section," Stinson said.

He expected guest rooms to be cleaned and ready to rent next month, with the clean up in the fire-ravaged event space delaying reopening there to April — still in time for the spring rebirth of the tourist season around here.

"They are useable now, but everything from sheets, towels, everywhere in the place have to be deep cleaned and scrubbed," Stinson said. "So that's what's going on now. Probably three weeks on the guest rooms. I'm going to say 90 to 120 days on the event space."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.