West State Street fire investigation has new leads, GoFundMe set up for victim recovering

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Help Mike Burdick get back on his feet after Wellsville fire on April 22

BY JOHN ANDERSON

Fire investigators are leaning toward a cause for a large fire on West State Street above the Hutter & Finn Law offices on Saturday, April 22.

On that day, a large black cloud went up the air at 22 West State Street as a fire engulfed the front of the building and got into the roof. Volunteer firefighters were praised for their quick thinking as they checked for residents and vented holes on the building toward the Genesee River as the wind was blowing toward Main Street. Specifically, the Kwik Fill gas station next door.

As the fire and smoke went straight up instead of toward the fuel, memories of the July 18, 1936 Sinclair Oil fire quickly faded.

When the fire started, Mike Burdick was upstairs, overcome with smoke and jumped out the window. He was injured during the fall and went to Jones Memorial Hospital and later Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester where he spent just over a week before being released.

Burdick, who is well-known as a chef and the friendly face when he worked the overnight shift at the former Sunoco A-Plus (now 7-11) right near his apartment, has set up a GoFundMe page.

You can visit the page by clicking the link below. The page has raised $460 of a $1,500 goal to date. Past history shows a fundraiser on the Wellsville Sun will usually be successful thanks to our generous readers.

Burdick writes, “I’m starting this fundraiser to rebuild and try to recoup the losses and a devastating fire and to possibly help with any medical bills.” (click here: https://gofund.me/d5a5af49)

Jeff Luckey, the Allegany County Fire Coordinator and Emergency Manager for Allegany County, said the fire is still listed as undermined, but they are leaning toward electrical as there may have been household wiring issues.

Luckey said investigators from the insurance company will be coming in as well to conduct their own independent study.

“We always have electric fires, the wires short out, but they also burn away,” Luckey said. “We have to determine, ‘Did the fire take place because of the short? Or did the fire burn up the short?’ We still have to do more investigations.”

Luckey said fire investigators have the same issues when a cigarette causes a fire.

“When we are investigating fires that start with cigarettes,” it’s not always that easy,” he said. “Cigarettes are supposed to be self-burning out, but there are some popular (cheaper) brands that don’t burn right out. “

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