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Montgomery Street fire burns historic buildings

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Montgomery Street fire burns historic buildings
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It was a day of waiting as firefighters continued to monitor the scene at Montgomery Street Thursday. They were first called out to the fire late Wednesday night and it eventually destroyed an old complex that has stood unused for decades. But as our Melissa Kakareka tells us, these were more than just abandoned buildings. They were a piece of Binghamton's history.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Firefighters were outside the abandoned building complex on Montgomery Street all Thursday as they waited for flames and heavy smoke to burn out.

"Afterwards, we will knock the walls down. We don't want any kids to get hurt or anybody to get to hurt. We'll knock it down and continue on with our investigation," said Binghamton Fire Marshal Dan Eggleston.

But before the building was a pile of rubble, it was a big piece of Binghamton's history. The building complex was built back in 1892 and housed several different businesses over the years. The most famous was the furniture store Pa's Woodshed.

"It was high quality furniture, all types of shoppers, all types of prices and a sub company on site, you could watching them making your furniture," said Broome County Historian Gerald Smith.

Most people remember the business for its large chair. The 26 foot, 9 inch wooden chair even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1979.

"It was definitely made of wood. It was huge. It looked like it was for the green giant," remembered Binghamton resident William Zipay.

The chair was removed long ago and the building has sat vacant for 20 years. Still, many people will remember it for what it was before the flames burned it down.

"For those of us who went there and shopped or drove up and down I-81, it will be sad not to see the building with the wooden chair," said Smith.

What caused the landmark to catch on fire is still under investigation.

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