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Arson suspected at Sabre Park office

Arson is suspected in a fire Monday night that destroyed the management office at Sabre Mobile Home Park, just one day before the Town Board was to discuss a demolition plan for the condemned park.

"It appears some type of incendiary device was thrown through a window," said Police Chief H. James Suitor, who noted that the fire, which started about 11:30 p.m., was brought under control quickly by Niagara Active Hose volunteer firefighters because one of the town's officers was driving by and spotted it.

"He just came across it as it had occurred," he said.

Suitor said that the fire started outside the building and that flammable liquid was found leading from the building to the parking lot.

"Someone doused some type of flammable liquid on it," he said. "It got on the roof and then into the exterior of the building."

Suitor, who was at the scene Tuesday at 1705 Factory Outlet Blvd., said the fire was confined to one office. Preliminary damage estimates were set at about $10,000.

Condemnation notices were posted on about 130 mobile homes at Sabre Park last week as the town moves towards demolition.

Town Supervisor Steven C. Richards said the comprehensive demolition plan was not directed specifically at Sabre Park but at current codes to allow for "due process" and homeowners grieving demolition procedures.

"This will not affect emergency demolitions," Richards said. "If the building inspector deems it is unsafe, then we can demolish it instantly."

By a 3-2 vote Tuesday evening, the Town Board approved a resolution directing Town Attorney Michael Risman, the town building inspector and the town engineer to present to the board "a comprehensive demolition procedure for all buildings" in the town.

That proposal will be worked on in the coming weeks, Risman said.

After Tuesday's meeting, Richards admitted that an updated town code could aid in remedying problems like those at Sabre Park.

"There are a bunch of mobile homes that are abandoned. We can't tell where the owners are or can't find them (to serve them legal papers for demolition)," he said, adding the homes have been stripped by metal thieves and are a danger to the public. "We need to concentrate on getting those condemned units out of there."

"This resolution starts the process in a legal way," explained Town Board member Danny Sklarski, who sponsored the resolution. "To do nothing would be a travesty."

Board members Charles F. Teixeira and Robert A. Clark opposed the measure saying that they had some problems with the text of the resolution being overly restrictive.

The trailer park, owned by Sabre Park Associates LLC, has been in receivership since last summer as the result of foreclosure proceedings on its $6 million mortgage.

Only about 70 of the 286 properties remain occupied, officials said.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com and tjpignataro@buffnews.com