Cleanup underway one month after devastating Hornell fire

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HORNELL, N.Y. – The families impacted by Hornell’s worst fire in decades have all settled into new housing.

An outpouring of financial assistance and donations of household goods has softened the transition around the holidays.

This week, as the city hit the one-month mark since the blaze on Preston Avenue and Washington Street, the Board of Public Works addressed the next step in the healing process – cleanup of the homes lost to the flames.

Our newspaper partner The Leader reports that Mayor John Buckley addressed the devastation – noting the area consumed by the fire resembles the ruins of a World War II movie.

Step one in the aftermath of the fire was getting the impacted individuals placed in new homes… Now comes the cleanup.

Those efforts have been complicated by the presence of asbestos at the site of the multi-home fire.

Steuben County government reached out to help the city with demolition at the site, but the Director of Facilities Management and Neighborhood Revitalization Bud Burdett says he is unsure how big of a role the county will play in the actual demolition since the county is not an asbestos certified contractor.

Burdett says each property destroyed by the fire will likely cost $10,000 to $12,000 for remaining demolition.

The timetable for the cleanup will take time to sort out, but Burdett is hopeful the picture will start to come into focus over the next week, as the city codes office is coordinating with various stakeholders.

The future of the properties remains uncertain.

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