ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A huge fire in downtown Rochester has destroyed a longtime printing business.
The fire caused the front of the City Blue Imaging Services building to collapse in the overnight hours. Spectrum News cameras captured that scary moment.
Employees like Paul Kieffer are wondering what they are going to come back to after Christmas now that their building and everything inside of it is a complete loss.
“First I cried. Obviously,” said Kieffer. “There are no words for it. We expected burned up building maybe a small fire but it’s just gone.”
Kieffer said seeing what is left of the place he has worked at for over 15 years is shocking.
“We’re just baffled we can’t find one piece of equipment that was in there. There should be stuff there, and there’s not,” he said.
Kiefer came with co-worker John Mealey and several others to see the damage the following morning.
“It’s a family-run business,” said Mealey, “and everybody that works here is very much a part of that family in many ways. So it’s very sad.”
Firefighters say a passerby called in the fire at City Blue Imaging Services on Scio Street around 10:30 p.m. Thursday. The two-story building was soon filled with smoke and flames. They say because of the size of the building and limited entry, it was quickly escalated to a three-alarm fire and all firefighters evacuated the building.
“We saw that the collapse was imminent, so we created a collapse zone. So we moved all the rigs out of the way. We made sure all of our personnel was out of the way, and we just continued to fight the fire exterior. At the time of the collapse, no one was hit, none of our apparatus and none of our firefighters were in harm’s way,” said Rochester Fire Department Lt. Ryan Fleming.
Fleming says one firefighter has a minor injury, but no one else was hurt.
Seventy firefighters were part of the hours-long efforts.
Fleming says because of the chemicals and paper inside the printing company’s building it was a dangerous and difficult fire to fight.
“Getting to the seed of that fire was very difficult because of the type of building this is,” said Fleming. “The lack of windows, the lack of entry points to the building.”
As the fire continued to engulf his building, the owner of the company Mark Cleary said he’s just grateful everyone is safe.
Spectrum News spoke to the owner of the company who says he is just happy everyone is safe.
“No one got hurt. I’m here with my son and some friends and other family members that came to see me. It’s very sad to see this but I just feel kind of somewhat blessed that no one got hurt and I’m still here on Christmas Eve,” said Mark Cleary.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.