Lockport recycling company to breathe new life into site of massive 2016 fire

Jan 7, 2020

A building severely damaged in a sensational Lockport arson fire in August 2016 will be partially coming back under a plan unanimously approved by the city Planning Board Monday evening.

Two teens started the fire at HTI Recycling. When the fire took off, one was left behind and died. The other one pleaded guilty to felonies and eventually the sentence given to a 14-year-old.

The fire ran on for days as the rubber used by HTI burned, sending vast dark clouds into the sky and spreading an odor over the area. Now, the company wants to restore part of one building that was damaged but not completely wrecked.

Apex Consulting President Timothy Arlington presents photos of the site to the Lockport board.
Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Apex Consulting President Timothy Arlington presented the plan to the board Monday. Arlington told reporters the plan is about ready to go in the spring.

"It's about 17,000 square feet, a much smaller portion of a much larger building," said Arlington. "He wants to reuse the building after he determined that two of the main walls were still structurally safe and some of the structural steel. He has already gone forward to actually ordering some of the steel for the building, and our firm is working on a design for the connections and the integration of that steel to make this a structurally sound building."

Originally, it was part of a 50,000-square-foot structure. Arlington said some details of the plan still have to be completed and approved by city officials. He said key details remain undecided.

"It'll depend on the use," Arlington said. "If it's an open warehouse system, based on the size of the building, it will not require sprinkler system. If it's being used as a service building for vehicles, it either has to be partitioned off or it will have to have that. That'll be a decision (owner) Derek (Martin) will have to make, depending on what the use of the building is. And that's part of the fire code review that we do, of couse, with the city."

A map of the sight shows where the proposed new building would be.
Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News