Last Tuesday, just one day after fighting a fire that destroyed the Pink in Allentown, Buffalo firefighters were called to a brick building in the Cobblestone District downtown for another massive fire.

A week later, that fire, at 110/118 South Park Avenue, was deemed suspicious by representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo said today.

Neither of the conjoined buildings were connected to utilities at the time of the fire on June 18, he noted, adding that the cause of the fire remains undetermined at this time.

In part, the fire has been deemed suspicious because of the buildings in which it took place.

The same day the fire happened, Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio reversed a decision by Buffalo Housing Court calling for the demolition of the building, owned by Darryl Carr and Park Avenue Estates. The fires started hours later, causing damage estimated to be worth $1.1 million.

“I’m not trying to connect the two at all,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown this morning. “We do have some concerns that the fire is suspicious in nature and that’s what the investigation is all about.”

The buildings, which date back to the 1800s, will not be demolished at this time.

Fire Commissioner Renaldo said that Darryl Carr will be interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation into the fire.

Carr has been in a longstanding eminent domain dispute with the city for more than a year: In January 2023 he was granted a demolition permit through Buffalo Housing Court but it was immediately challenged. Preservation Buffalo Niagara President Bernice Radle said he has been trying to demolish the building for closer to 10 years but preservation groups have been fighting to save them, as they are historically significant as among some of the oldest structures in Buffalo.

Judge DiTullio ruled last week that Judge Patrick Carney in Buffalo Housing Court did not have the sufficient authority to grant a demolition permit to Carr as the building was under the responsibility of preservation laws, adding that Carr did not go through the proper channels, which include filing an application with the Buffalo Preservation Board.

Carr reportedly said he will be challenging Judge DiTullio’s decision.

In March 2023, the Buffalo Common Council supported the eminent domain case as the buildings had been neglected by the owners and allowed to deteriorate, possibly stunting economic growth in the Cobblestone District and potentially posing safety hazards.

At the time, Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski said the buildings were “a blight on the Cobblestone Historic District that are impairing the area’s potential for economic growth. Acquiring these properties is both the right thing to do and necessary to preserve this district.” Under eminent domain, the city would take responsibility for the properties.

Officials from the ATF are called in as experts and investigators when a fire is deemed suspicious, if arson is suspected or if an explosive device may have been involved. ATF officials offered their services to investigate last week’s fire at the Pink as well, Commissioner Renaldo said.

Concert Calendar for Niagara Region and Western New York

A list of all the major and notable concerts coming to the area. At least, so far anyway.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images

More From We are Buffalo