Strikes Hamburg Landmark
Hamburg, NY - Mar 22, 2007 - The Buxton House was built by Captain Braley Buxton of the New York state militia in the late 1860s. Most current Hamburg and Lakeview residents know the building on the corner of Route 20 and Pleasant Avenue as a restaurant called Lindy's Buxton Inn.
The call came in to the fire department around 6:15 Thursday morning. Someone had seen flames at the historic Buxton Inn. "The whole back of the bldg was fully involved in fire," says Chad Witkowski, Assistant Chief of the Lakeshore Fire Department.
Ron Jewitt owns the building and was inside at the time, "It started in the downstairs corner of the bar."
At least eight fire companies rushed to the scene to help put out the fire. "If the wind was blowing towards our guys, our equipment it'd be a lot harder," says Witkowski, "But since it's blowing away it's helping to vent the building a lot better."
The Buxton Inn also houses a tax service. That's where Paul Martello was this morning having his taxes done. "All of a sudden they said there was a fire in the Buxton Inn so we got out," says Martello. Then he jokingly adds, "I think you can say we were burned by the tax man."
Martello can joke since everyone got out all right, but the loss is still sinking in for Ron Jewitt who's owned the building since 1992. "I had my accounting agency here, profession payroll service here," says Jewitt, "Had the bar downstairs, tenants upstairs. Now it's all gone."
Jewitt is hopeful all the tax and payroll records can be salvaged since the front of the building where the office is located is less badly damaged. Investigators think a carelessly tossed cigarette started the fire.
Hamburg, NY, March 22, 2007 - A southtowns landmark has gone up in flames. Fire officials say the preliminary cause is improperly discarded smoking materials behind the bar and restaurant. Now, the building owner has some decisions to make. As firefighters from 14 fire companies worked to put out the fire at the Buxton Inn, the building's business owners watched years of hard work go up in flames.
Restaurant owner Bill Lindy said, "I don't know what I'm going to do right now; it's hard to say. I don't know." Buxton Inn owner Ron Jewitt said, "It's got a little historical significance, you know, but it's just a shame." Thursday was Ron Jewitt's birthday. He was working in his tax office upstairs around 6:20 Thursday morning when the fire was first spotted.
His daughter, Christine Kirby, said, "He didn't hear anything or smell anything, and somebody that was driving by and saw the flames went into my dad's office and told him he had to get out." Everyone got out of the building safely. But one firefighter was treated on-scene for minor injuries when some ceiling materials fell on her during the overhaul process.
Firefighters spent about four hours putting out the fire and hot spots. Lake Shore Assistant Fire Chief Chad Witkowski said, "The crews did really well; excellent job by everybody. We couldn't have done it without everybody."
The Buxton Inn is one of the oldest buildings in the Town of Hamburg, dating back to 1869. Fire officials believe the structure can be rebuilt, but estimate there's about $200,000 in damage. This building has a great deal of historical significance to the town. The town historian says it was built out of bricks that were made right in the Town of Hamburg.
Members of the Potter family of Lake View are descended from Braley Buxton.
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