The buildings house both residential apartments and commercial properties including a Verizon cellular store and Karate Do Jo.
Getting the fire under control
By 9:30 a.m., the intersection was completely blocked off by emergency equipment and personnel as they worked to get the fire under control. Traffic traveling north on Route 48 was directed to Denio Street and passed by the recently demolished former Harrington Fire Station.
Hundreds watched as the streets filled with smoke.
As firefighters hosed the flames along Route 31, heavy clouds of smoke rose from the building blocking views of a helicopter circling above. Other personnel tossed debris from the second story windows of the building along Route 48.
There were 24 fire departments from Oswego, Onondaga and Cayuga counties, which helped to rotate personnel to avoid heat exhaustion.
"The heat, along with the day, really takes a toll," said Tom Perkins, vice president of the Baldwinsville Volunteer Fire Department.
In addition to the Greater Baldwinsville departments including Cold-Springs, Lakeside and the Baldwinsville Volunteer Fire Department, there were firefighters from East Syracuse, Phoenix, Taunton and other departments also on the scene. The Red Cross was also available to help.
"I was impressed by the effort of the Baldwinsville Firefighters and the 16 other departments that came to our aid," Saraceni said. "We're surrounded by communities that have lost blocks of historic landmarks to fires. The fact that the fast moving blaze was allegedly set by an arsonist using combustible fluids and that both buildings effected were still standing in the end is a testimonial to the bravery and professionalism of the firemen that fought the blaze."
By 11 a.m., the fire was under control. However, the intersection remained closed for most of the afternoon, reopening shortly before rush hour traffic.
Remembering the history
Many watched and reminisced about the history of the buildings, while others were capturing history.