A week later, the smoke has cleared, the street with two burnt historic buildings remains blocked, and downtown wonders if the two buildings will be structurally sound enough to remain standing.
I pass near here every morning, and mourn the set back in the rebirth of downtown. They still don't know what started the fire, which burned through the early morning hours of last Wednesday, December 23.
I still remember the smells of traveling to work last Wednesday. Maybe it was my imagination, but I could smell smoke about 1/4 mile from downtown. By the time I got to the corner of State and Court Street, the smell was quite noticable.
There was police tape along the sidewalks, where crowds had gathered the night before to watch the fire burn. Remnants of ice from the water lined the sidewalks. Up on the roof of the former midtown mall (the building where the fire started) were some firemen. I stood there a few minutes before traveling on.
Once daybreak came, the damage was apparent. The tall red building is the Press building, once the tallest building in Binghamton, built for the local newspaper. It had only recently been renovated by a law firm, which had occupied several floors.
What a beautiful building, and it will break my heart if it has to come down.
As far as the historic Midtown Mall building.... this is what is left. The building is totally gutted from the inside.
The building on the left is the Perry Building, another gem, and apparently it survived.
I still haven't been able to get hold of the historic photos (including some of fires at the turn of the century) I wanted to post. If I get these pictures, I will post them.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, downtown.
May 2011 be happier for all of us.