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Lockport Police won’t say if they’ve made arrest in fatal fire

LOCKPORT – The arrest of a juvenile in connection with the giant tire fire is to be announced at a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Lockport City Hall, a law enforcement source told The Buffalo News.

The juvenile is believed to have started the fire along with Joe Phillips, the 14-year-old boy who hasn’t been seen since 90 minutes before the blaze was reported at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Sources have told The News that Phillips is believed to gone back inside the building at HTI Recycling to try to put the fire out, but was unable to escape.

Human remains were found at the scene of the blaze Friday night, but a comparison of Phillips’ three-year-old dental records with the teeth in the remains failed to produce an identification Monday, Niagara County Coroner Kenneth V. Lederhouse said.

A DNA test was ordered, and Lederhouse was uncertain how long it would take to produce a definitive answer.

The fire destroyed four buildings, substantial amounts of processing equipment and 8 million pounds of ground rubber from recycled tires. The smoke resulted in a mandatory evacuation of parts of nine Lockport streets for more than 48 hours. The fire was not declared extinguished until 1 p.m. Saturday.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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