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Emergency demolition to 'The Old Pink' after early morning fire

Fire damage to The Old Pink Flamingo
Thomas O'Neil-White
/
WBFO News
Fire damage to The Old Pink Flamingo

The City of Buffalo ordered an emergency demolition of 223 Allen St. after the building caught fire early Monday morning.

223 Allen is better known as Allentown watering hole staple, The Old Pink Flamingo or The Old Pink.

The fire was first reported around 5:45 a.m. Images posted to social media show flames and heavy smoke coming from the building.

Crews get to work demolishing The Old Pink Flamingo
Thomas O'Neil-White
/
WBFO News
Crews get to work demolishing The Old Pink Flamingo

Buffalo Fire Department Commissioner William Renaldo credited first responders for their swiftness in getting the blaze under control.

“They encountered heavy fire, a large volume of smoke,” he said. “As [Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown] said, our crew did an amazing job keeping the fire contained.”

Renaldo said early estimates puts the damage at over $1 million.

As the demolition continued into the early afternoon neighborhood residents and employees came by to mourn together.

“I just couldn’t watch something like that,” said Scott Baxter, of the images being shown through social media. “It was graphic.”

Baxter, a DJ who has played at various venues along Allen Street remembers The Old Pink coming through in the clutch late one night.

Scott Baxter (right) holds a drawing of The Old Pink Flamingo
Thomas O'Neil-White
/
WBFO News
Scott Baxter (right) holds a drawing of The Old Pink Flamingo

“When the Chiefs were here for the playoffs everything was closed,” Baxter said. “Couldn't get food anywhere except for this place. We went to 12 different places before we got here. Every place was closed before one o'clock the night before the Kansas City Chiefs game. This place is open, and we got a bangin’ steak sandwich.”

In a statement Fillmore District Council Member Mitch Nowakowski said Monday was an incredibly sad day.

“Not only for the residents and neighbors in my district,” he said. “But also, the businesses and the fabric the historic Allentown community.”

A GoFundMe has been put up to help the owners of The Old Pink Flamingo.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.