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Efforts To Remove Debris After October Fire Still Ongoing

What remains of the former Colony Motel is pictured along Fairmount Avenue in the town of Ellicott. Efforts to have the site cleaned up are still ongoing. P-J photos by Eric Tichy

A fire that broke out in the early hours of Oct. 24 quickly reduced the Colony Motel in West Ellicott to a pile of debris. Efforts to clean up the site after the massive blaze are understandably taking a bit longer.

David Crossley, building and zoning officer for the town of Ellicott, said National Fire Adjusters has been acquiring estimates from licensed asbestos contractors for site remediation. He said a demolition permit will be issued to the site’s owner as soon as a contractor has been determined.

National Fire Adjusters manages logistics for properties that experience a fire.

Fire broke out at the 620 Fairmount Ave. motel around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24. At the scene, Celoron Fire Chief Jamison Justham said 15 residents were displaced due to the blaze and resulted in minor injuries to two occupants and two firefighters.

One resident, Christopher Skuggen, said a manager alerted him to the fire and soon witnessed flames engulfing a rear section of the motel.”My room was filled with smoke,” Skuggen told The Post-Journal. “It just kept going on and on from there. It was that top left corner (of the motel) was the worst spot. It just spread through the whole top quick, super quick.”

What remains of the former Colony Motel is pictured along Fairmount Avenue in the town of Ellicott. Efforts to have the site cleaned up are still ongoing. P-J photos by Eric Tichy

Due to the amount of damage caused by the fire, portions of the property still standing were demolished later in the day.

Since then, the site has been fenced off and “Private Property” signs posted.

The cause of the October morning blaze has not been determined; an investigation is being undertaken by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and Ellicott Police Department.

According to online county records, the 1-acre property is owned by Dhan Laxmi LLC. A phone message left with the owner on record was not returned.

Crossley noted that logistics for a cleanup of this size can take time.

The Colony’s history dates back to the early 1950s when contractor John Erickson proposed construction of a 22-unit motel along Fairmount Avenue. On a site located between Glidden and Merlin avenues, construction commenced in the summer of 1954.

The motel opened in 1955 and further expanded over the years.

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