Lackawanna Steel Company : A neighborhood Mill

2016 Bethlehem Steel fire
Bethlehem steel fire.jpg
View of fire from NYS Route 5
DateNovember 9, 2016
Time7:30 a.m.
LocationLackawanna, New York, United States
Coordinates42°48′33″N 78°50′41″W / 42.8092°N 78.8447°W / 42.8092; -78.8447Coordinates: 42°48′33″N 78°50′41″W / 42.8092°N 78.8447°W / 42.8092; -78.8447
0 dead
1 injured

On November 9, 2016, around 7:30 a.m., a major fire broke out at a 1-million-square-foot (93,000 m2) galvanizing warehouse that was formerly part of the now-vacated Bethlehem Steel complex in Lackawanna, New York, just south of Buffalo.[1] The fire was said to have been caused by a hot bulb which fell and struck cardboard inside of the building, igniting the structure, although this has not been confirmed. Subsequently, a thick ash cloud extended 30 mi (48 km) south of the accident site, viewable from Canada, Eden, New York, and weather radars.[2] Hundreds of firefighters from area departments,[3] including the Buffalo Fire Department, assisted in rescue operations, which resulted in one injury.[4]


Smoke plume seen approximately 5 mi (8.0 km) down range from accident site

Throughout the day, chunks of ash were carried south by a plume to the town of Hamburg. The poor air quality affected school and businesses downwind from the scene of the fire, and led to the evacuation of 300 households in the immediate area.[5] Frontier Central School District evacuated several of its schools to different districts and remained closed the next day.[6] West Seneca and Lake Shore school districts held a shelter in place for students as they were further from the accident site.[7] In addition, 3.5 million U.S. gallons (13,000 cubic meters) of water were used to fight the fire.

On November 10, Governor Andrew Cuomo toured the site and announced that state officials would further monitor air quality in the surrounding areas.[8]

Emergency demolition commenced on November 10 and continued the next day.[9]

On September 21, 2017, the Buffalo Fire Department closed the 10-month investigation as "undetermined."[10]


  1. ^ Michel, Lou (2016-11-10). "What makes fighting the Bethlehem fire so difficult". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  2. ^ "Lackawanna blaze disrupts traffic, prompts school closures". The Buffalo News. 2016-11-10. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  3. ^ Rosenberg, Eli (2016-11-09). "Fire Engulfs Former Bethlehem Steel Factory in New York". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  4. ^ "Official: Hot bulb sparked massive Bethlehem Steel site fire". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  5. ^ "Former steel mill fire prompts evacuation of 300 homes in New York". Fox News. 2016-11-10. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  6. ^ TEGNA. "Schools affected by Lackawanna fire". WGRZ. Retrieved 2016-11-11.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ TEGNA. "Major fire at Bethlehem Steel site contained". WGRZ. Retrieved 2016-11-11.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Alex, Katie; er; Reporter, News 4 (2016-11-10). "Rt. 5 remains closed as evacuations begin, Gov. Cuomo visits scene of Lackawanna fire". Archived from the original on 2016-11-11. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  9. ^ "Residents evacuated near Bethlehem fire allowed to return home". The Buffalo News. 2016-11-11. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  10. ^ "Cause of massive Bethlehem Steel site fire is 'undetermined,' investigators say". The Buffalo News. 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2017-09-21.