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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fire reported at One HSBC Center in downtown Buffalo, New York


Wikinews.org - Buffalo, New York – According to scanner frequencies of the Buffalo, New York fire department, smoke was reported on at least five floors at the northeast side at One HSBC Center in downtown Buffalo. The call came in around 10:50 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Friday January 18, not long after the ending of the NHL hockey game: the Sabres versus the Atlanta Thrashers which was held at HSBC Arena, a few blocks away from the tower.

According to firefighters communications the people that were on the 22nd floor made it out of the building safely. Firefighters saw "white smoke of varying intensities, believed to have been electrical" on floors 9 through 13. The source of the smoke was not identified, but the first alarm was on the 13th floor, followed by the 10th then the 9th.

Because of the cold temperatures and wind chills in the 10's, workers at the tower were allowed back into the first floor, which has been cleared by firefighters earlier in the call.

At 11:41 p.m., firefighters gave the all clear to begin packing up with no conclusion as to where the smoke originated. They used ventilation fans to clear the floors of smoke and then shut them off to see if anymore smoke would reappear, which it did not. Remaining employees and personnel have since been allowed back to work. No damage is reported.

The tower, built in 1970, is the tallest in Buffalo and is home several agencies including the Consulate General of Canada. HSBC currently occupies 75% of the tower which has 40 floors. It stands at 529 feet (161.2 meters) tall.

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