Warehouse destroyed by fire has code violations; owner has fines, along with owing back taxes

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The City of Rochester says the Otis Street warehouse that burned to the ground on Monday night had 15 code violations. As the investigation continues, fire investigators say none of these violations are to blame for the fire.

News10NBC has the details about the clean-up operation.

Fire Captain David Abdoch tells News10NBC one firefighter was sent to the hospital after he slipped and fell injuring his knee. He has since been released from the hospital.

“Right now, it’s still an active investigation just from the size, and you know all these situations that we have going on. It’s going to take some time to, before we can get a clue on what’s going on here,” said Abdoch.

Hours after a massive five-alarm fire leveled the 52,000-square-foot warehouse, several families living on Rogers Avenue started to return only to be turned away by city officials.

“We have a number of homes on this street that have their basement flooded up to a foot, to three feet of water. Now what we’re trying to do is pump all that water out,” said Abdoch.

Firefighters say it could be 48 hours or more before anyone is allowed back in for safety reasons.

“Building services are going through each individual home. Making sure that it’s safe before they power back on and turn water and all the utilities back on to the home. So, each home is getting its own independent investigation to make sure it’s safe before we can turn everything back on, and allow the occupants to return to their home,” said Abdoch.

The City says the warehouse located at 301 Otis Street was vacant at the time of the fire. It was used to store wooden pallets, which fed the fire for hours.

“We do have some garages that were destroyed, or received some damage due to the fire, but the fire department was able to put lines on the house and keep the fire from spreading to actual homes. So that was a huge kudos to them for that because this whole block could’ve potentially been gone,” said Abdoch.

Besides the 15 code violations, the City of Rochester says the owner of the warehouse also has fines totaling almost $12,000 and owes the city almost $200,000 in back taxes.