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LOCKPORT – Thick black smoke could be seen for miles and a number of roads in the City of Lockport were rerouted as crews battled a fire Tuesday afternoon at the old Kohl’s Cycle Sales at 71 Gooding St. The building was so heavily damaged that it will be demolished in the coming days.

A number of fire crews were called to the scene of the fire, which spread toward a nearby railroad trestle and dropped hot ashes into Scalzo Park.

Firefighters atop two ladder trucks doused the building with water as heavy fire could be seen inside the building.

A city employee who happened to be in the area saw three teenagers running away from the scene just before the time the fire was reported, according to Lockport City Mayor Michael W. Tucker. The employee noticed flames and then called 911 shortly before 1:30 p.m.

The city took ownership of the vacant building in 2008. It originally was constructed in 1875 and it covers 53,360 square feet. The assessed value of the structure is $50,000, according to city assessor Harry Williams.

Before the fire, all of the windows to the two-story structure had been broken out and the front wall was caving in.

Tucker said that the city had been hoping to demolish the building but was running into resistance from the state historic preservation office. Tucker said the office “said there was historical significance. I guess that’s true. We were on the phone with them today. They said it’s OK for us to take it down now.”

The city now plans to do an emergency demolition. Tucker said: “It’ll be down in the next day or two.”

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com and nfischer@buffnews.com