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Spilled gas ignited in million-dollar fire

A fire that caused an estimated $1.25 million in damage to an Orchard Park building supply company Thursday may have been started through careless handling of gasoline and a cigarette lighter, according to preliminary reports.

Chris Couell, Orchard Park Fire Company's second assistant chief, said the fire that destroyed a warehouse at Miris Cash & Carry on Southwestern Boulevard is under investigation.

The fire erupted after employees used a gas can to fuel a pickup truck inside the building. Gasoline apparently spilled and was ignited, officials said. Sources close to the investigation are looking into the possibility that a person playing with a cigarette lighter sparked the blaze. There were no injuries.

The fire spread rapidly, with roofing shingles, tar, asphalt and vinyl siding fueling the blaze, engulfing the 7,500-square-foot pole-barn-style structure. The building was built behind the business's main structures in 2003.

The fire started around 1:30 p.m. and closed Southwestern Boulevard -- Route 20 -- through the afternoon rush hour.

By the time it was under control, the building was reduced to what looked like large cubes of charcoal. The business' front buildings, on the north side of Route 20, were relatively unscathed.

Volunteer companies answering the mutual aid call were Windom, Hillcrest, Newton Abbott, Scranton, Reserve, Big Tree, Armor, West Falls, Twin District and rapid intervention teams. Woodlawn provided backup.

Miris is owned by Michael Wachowicz and Thomas Delaney.


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