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Lockport residents familiar with fires at tire recycling plant

LOCKPORT – Lockport residents are familiar with tire fires at the High Tread International, including the Upson Co.

In May 2009, a fire in large debris pile containing tires quickly was brought under control.

On Sept. 7, 2011, fire gutted one of the buildings there, causing $1 million damage.

On Jan. 28, 2012, a sizable tire fire between two buildings spread thick smoke through parts of the city.

Buildings on the site date back to the early 20th century, when Charles Upson established a factory in an old shed to produce a better variety of wallboard. By 1921, Upson Board was so successful that the Upson Co. was the world’s largest wallboard factory under one roof.

The company survived the Depression by producing TUCO (The Upson Co.) jigsaw puzzles. Upson faltered financially in the 1970s and was sold to Domtar, a Canadian company, in 1984.

Domtar sold the operation to Caraustar in 1992. Later that year Buffalo Wallboard, a Caraustar subsidiary, began making paper liners for wallboard there. It shut down in 2003.

In 2004, the tire recycling business, High Tread International, bought the property. Acquired by Liberty Tire Recycling in 2010, it is now known as HTI Recycling.

News Staff Reporter Dale Anderson contributed to this report email: tprohaska@buffnews.com, jhowland@buffnews.com and mgryta@buffnews.com

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