LOCKPORT - Ohio Street in Lockport will be closed to traffic between Stevens and Simonds streets during the daytime for as long as two weeks, while a city crew installs two new fire hydrants near the scene of the giant HTI Recycling fire in August.
City Engineer Rolando Moreno said Wednesday that the new hydrants are being tapped into a 12-inch water main on the west side of the street, replacing two older hydrants that were connected to a 6-inch main on the east side of the street. That will increase the available water supply to the hydrants.
Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said the city Water Department determined that since the Aug. 10-13 fire, high levels of sediment have been found in the smaller water main on Ohio Street, impeding its operation. She said it's possible the sediment might have been stirred by the high water demand the firefighting efforts placed on the water mains. One main near the city water filtration plant actually caved in during the fire and received emergency repairs.
Moreno said construction crews will be blocking Ohio Street during the day until the project is completed, but one lane will be open to traffic at night.
The $5.25 million fire, which was blamed on arson, started on the Stevens Street side of the HTI property, although HTI's address is on Ohio Street. One of the boys believed to have been involved in starting the fire, Joe Phillips, 14, was trapped inside a building and killed; another boy believed to be involved, a 13-year-old, is to be prosecuted in Niagara County Family Court.
The city's expenses related to the fire have been estimated at more than $160,000, and McCaffrey told the Common Council last week that because the fire was ruled arson, the city can't seek indemnification from HTI's fire insurance.