Debris Removal Begins In Falconer

Removal of debris at the site of a fire in downtown Falconer began Thursday. The building at 15 W. Main St. was heavily damaged in the blaze. Pictured at the site Thursday is Brian Nelson, in red, who owned the property for 30 years. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

FALCONER — Removal of debris following a fire in downtown Falconer that destroyed a building beyond repair last month began Thursday.

Crews began loading the demolition material around 11 a.m. at the former 15 W. Main St. building. Brian Nelson, who owned the property as well as the Falconer Vac Shop on the first floor, said he had to wait for his insurance company to give the green light before the debris could be removed.

Nelson said the debris should be removed within a week. After the cleanup, he said he will install a shed to do business out of temporarily between March 15 and March 20.

“It depends on how long it takes to get electric and water back in here,” he said. “I’ve ordered a big shed. The village is working with me. They gave me permits to put that there temporarily for this summer.”

Nelson said he still plans to sell vacuums cleaners, bags, belts and furniture. He said he remains “committed to the community” and doesn’t feel he can retire at this point. He said watching the debris from his former business be loaded into a dumpster Thursday was “tough,” but wanted to see the site cleared.

“That’s my goal,” Nelson said. “Thanks to everyone for bearing with me while we get it cleaned up.”

Nelson said after March 20, he is hopeful he will be able to repair vacuums again, but until that point, the service cannot be offered to customers.

The West Main Street building was demolished days after the January fire when Nelson learned the structure could not be saved. He owned the property for 30 years, and also worked at a hardware store within the building for more than a decade before that.

Chautauqua County fire investigators were unable to determine the cause of the blaze, which was believed to have started in the attic. A dozen tenants living in apartments on the upper floors were displaced due to the fire.

“I have 48 years there,” Nelson said last month. “I’ve owned it for 30 years. Every day was a milestone; I loved my job.”