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Elmira/Corning

Camillus Cutlery building demolished after fire

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Camillus Cutlery building demolished after fire
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Camillus' Main Street is without a familiar staple for the first time in more than a century. The main building of the former Camillus Cutlery factory has been torn down after fire ripped through it Monday. Investigators have ruled that the fire was accidental. They say workers were cutting a steel pipe with a torch when some of the material dripped, causing a wooden wall to catch fire. Now comes the rebuilding process. Sarah Blazonis has more.

CAMILLUS, N.Y. -- Village Mayor Patricia Butler says the building posed a huge safety risk and had to come down immediately. Throughout the day, people stopped along Main Street to watch and take some final pictures of what was once a major employer here. Despite the loss, some say a silver lining was getting to see the community band together in an emergency.

Fire crews were once again putting out flames at the former Camillus Cutlery building Tuesday, but these were just hot spots. Several departments spent hours getting the fire under control Monday and Mayor Patricia Butler says as more firefighters came out to help the village, more and more residents came forward to help them.

"Bottles of Gatorade and free pizza that was donated and purchased and other fire departments, their auxiliaries that were behind the scenes and making food and sending it down to the fire house," Butler said.

Sharon Volcko was one of the residents who offered to lend a hand Monday night.

"It did your heart good. There's so many nasty people out there nowadays and it just did the heart good to see all these people, anybody would've done anything," Volcko said.

Pastor Barrie Lyn Foster also pitched in. She and her husband passed out coffee in front of the village's First Baptist Church Monday night. Foster says gathering together is an important part of saying goodbye to a piece of its history.

Foster said, "People like to gather and they like to talk and they share their memories of what happened and they say how difficult it is, but then we also have the opportunity to look forward into the future."

The village has another reason to breathe a sigh of relief. There are plans to renovate the remaining building and turn it into a site called Camillus Mills. Officials with developer Sweet Spot Development say plans are absolutely moving forward with this. The project aims to turn the building into office and residential space and bring new life to this site. The main building was set to be demolished in the spring.

Life hasn't quite returned to normal there in Camillus. A boil water order remains in effect following the fire.

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