The Erie County Board of Elections is closed today in the wake of a smoky fire in the 134 West Eagle headquarters.
The building also houses some operations of the Erie County Sheriff's Department which had some smoke damage. The department says its Civil Division Processing Center and Finger Print Bureau are closed "for a few days" as county engineers and contractors inspect the building.
The preliminary report from the Buffalo Fire Department is that the fire was accidental, starting with an electrical problem. There was significant smoke and water damage.
While County Executive Mark Poloncarz says there is other county space available if the board needs to move for repairs, elections workers need to keep ahead of a busy season.
"We're still printing ballots for the voters to vote on on the primary day. We also have the individual sign-in books that voters sign into when they arrive at the poll that need to be printed," said Board Project Coordinator Darian Pratchett.
"Our Registration Department has been working to make sure that all registrations filed by last week's deadline are in our system and accurate."
The fire apparently started in a work room used by the board to count absentee ballots and fire fighters say the space was locked.
The Sheriff's Department says any civil payment due during the building closure will now be due the day the building re-opens. Anyone seeking fingerprints are asked to call 858-6566 to reschedule or to inquire when the Finger Print Bureau has reopened.