Burned Out

Sometimes opportunity knocks, other times it billows hundreds of feet into the air. A few years ago a largely abandoned machine-shop-turned-warehouse caught fire and chased out what little activity the place still saw. If you live in Buffalo, you’ve probably driven by the building which is located around Elmwood and Hertel. I refreshed my memory with old articles and it seemed like it was a long burning fire and was considered suspicious by the investigator. I don’t think anything came of it though.

Normally one of the Big Rules of urban exploration is to not flat-out reveal your locations. I think this started out as a way to keep things exclusive, everyone loves knowing something their neighbor doesn’t, but ended up being explained as a safety concern. I don’t really know, but, in all of my videos I left clues for people to find if they were observant.

In this case there’s no point in hiding it because it’s already heavily trafficked and maybe some more attention might do the area some good. Not too long ago someone painted: “If it were up to me, I’d tear this place down.” on the front of the building.

The building had three divisions we explored: a loading dock and warehouse, a series of offices, and the burned out back building. We began by entering through the dangerous burned out back section, of course, and treaded very carefully among the burned out ruins.  We were on the second floor and were certainly concerned about falling through to the first but there was enough floor left, and garbage on it, to walk on.

I’m not sure what was being stored up there and most of what we found were old Fuji Film ads mixed with other charred paper remains. As there was little left to see we found a staircase that led into the first floor warehouse area.

In here was the remains of whatever manufacturing or tooling business was first here; lots of rusted and broken machines mixed with tables and chairs. I think we even spotted an old server of some sort, gutted with the sides torn off.

Most of this junk was stuffed unceremoniously into a single room which exited into a dark, flooded hallway. It looked like this hallway was either under or near the burned out section as the ceiling had partially fallen in.  There wasn’t much to see here but the way the light fell through made it rather impressive.

Out of this hallway and into another large room we found the remains of a political campaign. Flyers and signs were strewn about and we could see, and probably be seen on, the street outside. We didn’t really want to spend much time in this section on the off-chance that someone would spot us and so we searched around for a way up to the second floor. We lucked out and found a door, apparently broken by graffiti artists, that led up  to the offices.

The offices and the warehouse were like night and day; the dark, dank hallways downstairs turned into sunlit, open spaces. Up here the walls were covered in layers of graffiti and you could tell that different artists were competing for space in certain rooms. It was interesting to see how untouched by the fire this floor was considering how bad the rest of the building was.

We found another set of stairs that led us up to a storage area with roof access. From here we could also finally see into the elevator that was closed off on the previous floors. It looked like the people clearing the place out took whatever was up here and just pushed it into the elevator shaft.

On the roof or, at least, looking out from inside, I could see the theater across the street and on down Elmwood with only a two foot wall hiding me from view. We decided not to stand up out there.

We took the long walk back to where we climbed in, waited for a few bus riders to disperse, and tried to sneak away only to have my father and grandfather blare their horn at us as they passed. So much for not drawing attention.

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This entry was published on September 10, 2012 at 11:28 pm. It’s filed under Behind the Concrete Curtain and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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