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Multiple crews called out to large fire in Williamsville industrial park

Williamsville Fire 1
courtesy Sarah Mroziak
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Firefighters from multiple companies battled flames in an industrial building in Williamsville Tuesday.

Numerous fire crews came together in Williamsville Tuesday evening to tackle a large fire within a business campus. Smoke could be seen for miles, and that wasn’t the only obstacle facing firefighters.

Shortly after 4 p.m., flames broke out inside a building at the corner or Earhart Drive and Lawrence Bell Drive, within a business and industrial park. The affected building was reported on Tuesday evening to have stored personal protective equipment. Early on, fire crews expressed concern over materials that may have been inside.

“There are industrial chemicals inside this building, which is why we are putting in place a strongly recommended evacuation from Curtwright to Youngs Road, to Wehrle Drive to the New York State Thruway,” said Main-Transit Fire Chief Bradley Sprague to WGRZ-TV.

Police closed off several roads leading into this complex, but onlookers could be seen parking their cars and watching from a nearby Thruway overpass on South Youngs Road. Others parked in the lots at businesses off Wehrle Drive near Spindrift.

“I was out at Darien Lake all day, actually, and I'm on Twitter and I'm seeing all these tweets and pictures of this huge fire by the airport,” said David Camardo, who watched from a parked car in a lot off Wehrle Drive. “I'm seeing more and more so I figured I'd just come and check it out.”

When asked for his thoughts about what he was witnessing, he called it “crazy,” adding that he hoped the arriving rain would provide firefighters some help with the flames.

Williamsville Fire 2
courtesy Sarah Mroziak
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The smoke from Tuesday's industrial fire at times blew over the New York State Thruway near the Buffalo Niagara International Airport

Instead, the weather created another obstacle.

A steady black plume of smoke rose hundreds of feet into the air from the scene for hours. At moments, it was blowing into the general direction of a flight path for incoming planes landing at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Some planes could be seen passing through the smoke. Then the winds shifted, pushing that plume in the direction of the New York State Thruway, and the edge of the airport tarmac.

When those winds shifted southward, they were followed by a thunderstorm which brought heavy rain and some occasional lightning. Firefighters continued through it, and they stayed on to battle the fire long into the night. Crews were still spraying the fire scene as midnight approached.

A briefing was expected at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.