Kirkbride Buildings Blog

April 19th, 2010

Richardson Complex Triage

Queenseyes at Buffalo Rising posted about his authorized look inside the Buffalo State Hospital Kirkbride after the recent fire. From his write-up, it appears the damage was very limited and the Richardson-Olmsted Corporation is getting serious about keeping trespassers out of the building. Read the story and view photos here: Richardson Triage Slide Show.

Update: The Richardson-Olmsted Corporation just sent out this email message…

“Reuse of the Richardson Olmsted Complex is moving ahead as scheduled. Last week’s fire does not delay plans for an Architecture Center, Visitor Center, hotel, event space in the Towers Administration Building and two adjacent ward buildings.

The fire damage was limited to a room on the second floor of the Towers Building at the southwest corner, causing interior and exterior damage. The remainder of the building is in good condition, in particular the staircase and the first floor (with the historic wood, plaster features, and fireplaces).

We are thankful to the Buffalo Fire Department for their successful efforts to contain the fire and to the citizens who called 911. Within minutes of notification, the Buffalo FD was on scene.

The Buffalo Fire Department is aggressively investigating the arson, including use of DNA samples from the scene. The perpetrator will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The arsonist penetrated two layers of security to enter the Towers Building.

Security is being significantly enhanced with additional night patrols and temporary perimeter lighting. The complex will continue to be secured with the perimeter chain link fence and vigilance at sealing the building. Security measures will greatly improve with the perimeter lighting installation which will start in July.

Cleaning of the damaged area in the Towers Building started Friday and the second floor broken windows will be sealed within the next few weeks (to give the building time to dry out).

Major stabilization work for 2010 is on track. Abatement and clean up of the Towers Building and adjacent ward buildings will start this summer at a cost of $4 million. Work on the remaining buildings will take place to keep water out and provide ventilation – activities important for their long term stability – at a cost of $1.5 million. This includes roof repairs, sealing open areas of brick and covering the remaining open windows.

In 2008 and 2009 stabilization of the weak buildings and connectors took place to prevent collapse, roof repairs to prevent additional water damage, electrical designs for exterior lighting, and grounds maintenance.

Our next public meeting will be in June or July.

This nationally significant site is one of the most difficult rehabilitation projects in Buffalo and perhaps the nation. The Richardson Center Corporation has been working since 2007 to meet all legal requirements and advance a reasoned, thorough and feasible reuse plan for the vast buildings and grounds.

If you have any information about the fire or security breaches at the Richardson Olmsted Complex, please contact Monica Pellegrino Faix, Project Coordinator, 849-6070.”

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  1. WSH April 19, 2010, 1:05 pm

    So from what I gather from this article they are sure it was arson?

  2. Ethan April 19, 2010, 5:00 pm

    I’d say so, especially after reading the email message from the Richardson-Olmsted Corporation I just added to this post.

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