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Falconer, In Familiar Situation, Comes Together In Time Of Need

P-J photos by Katrina Fuller

FALCONER — The village of Falconer stands together amongst the ashes once again.

From community members and businesses donating clothing and food for the displaced families to firefighters working all hours in bone-chilling temperatures, the Falconer community refuses to falter in the face of adversity. Village of Falconer Mayor James Rensel said moving forward is the only option.

“We just have to do what we have to do,” Rensel said.

Fire investigators remain on the scene of the blaze that started Sunday morning at 15 W. Main St. in Falconer. Sunday’s fire was just down the street from where less than a year ago another fire broke out that left families without homes and business owners without their livelihood.

Rensel said he is thankful for the support of the community during this time of hardship, from the community members, businesses and other fire departments and emergency services from across the county.

“We appreciate it all so much,” he said.

The small section of West Main Street in downtown Falconer will be closed for the next few days, Rensel said.

“My goal is three days,” he said.

Rensel said the cause is currently unknown. After the fire investigators are finished, the insurance companies will take a look at the damage, as well as the village code enforcer. From there, Rensel said the decisions will be made on if the buildings are able to be refurbished or if there must be demolition.

“You have to reach that fork in the road,” he said. “Those are the numbers that have to be crunched.”

Rensel said he does not want the clean-up period to take a long time. However, he said the holiday weekend could slow the efforts down some.

The buildings that burned are owned by Brian Nelson, Rensel said. Nelson worked at Falconer Hardware when he was 16 years old and has been involved with the building ever since, he added.

Sixteen individuals were displaced by the fire, and collections of funds and clothing have been started to benefit them. Clothing can be dropped off at the Eastside Fellowship Hall at 322 Woodlawn Ave. while monetary donations can be dropped off in the care of Bob Caldwell at The Hogg Shoppe on Main Street in Falconer. Clothing sizes needed for men include: large, extra-large, small and medium shirts, shoes in size 8.5, 9 and 10, as well as pants in size 30 by 32, 34 by 32 and 31 by 30. For women, the clothing needs are: size 12, 14, 6 and 8 in pants, size extra-large, 1X, medium and large in shirts and size 7, 7.5 and 8 in shoes.

Those who have been displaced are also in need of permanent homes and are looking for the following types of apartments: a one or two bedroom apartment, a two or three bedroom apartment and a one bedroom efficiency. The individuals and families would like to remain in the Falconer area, but will consider other areas. To share information on available apartments, call Lisa Piazza at 450-5796.

Falconer Fire Chief Charlie Piazza said the department is still investigating the fire and members are still on the scene. He said fire, law enforcement and emergency services personnel from across the county responded to the fire, including 11 fire departments, 10 of which are volunteer. Fire departments included Falconer, Kennedy, Gerry, Fluvanna, Bemus Point, Randolph, Frewsburg, Celoron, Busti, Ellington and Jamestown. County medics No. 73 and No. 74 of the County EMS Fly Car System responded, as well as county coordinators Greg Scott and Scott Bailey. Deputy Fire Coordinator Skip Cavallaro also responded, as well as ALSTAR EMS, the Ellicott Police Department, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

The Falconer, Kennedy, Gerry, Fluvanna and Ellington fire departments worked overnight at the scene on rotating four hour shifts.

The Falconer Fire Department and Village of Falconer would also like to thank the following businesses and organizations for their donations and efforts during the fire: Tops Markets; the Salvation Army; Burger King; Tasta Pizza; CVS; Tim Hortons; the Falconer Library, including Sue Seasman and Laurie Becker; Phil and Cindy’s; McDonalds; ServPro; Subway; Honest John’s; Explosions Cheerleading Team; Falconer Central School and the Falconer Wrestling Team.

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