CASTILE, N.Y. (WIVB) - More than a century's worth of history has gone up in smoke and one person is still missing Tuesday night after a fire that destroyed a landmark building housing the Castile town and village offices, along with apartments and a restaurant.
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Nearly 16 hours after flames broke out around 2 a.m., firefighters were still dealing with flareups Tuesday. The building on North Main Street is a total loss. Some government records inside the building have been saved, but first responders main concern is the whereabouts of Lorraine Qutermous.
She lived in the building and ran a popular restaurant inside, Lorraine's Place. Officials cannot yet say if she perished in the blaze.
Wyoming County Sheriff Farris Heimann said, "We have not located the owner and that is part of the ongoing investigation."
Castile United Church of Christ Rev. Katheryn Bindig said, "It does not look good right now. We have nothing definitive at this point. And so everyone's just waiting and praying."
Twenty-four fire companies were called in to help fight the flames. Tankers were needed to bring water to the crews because Castile's hydrants were dry. The village water system is undergoing reconstruction.
"This has been running on 20,000 gallons of water, and that's it for this little village. The process worked that we had set up with the fire coordinators in Warsaw and you see what happened. They worked," said Castile Mayor Keith Granger.
In order for the town and village governments to carry on business, a state of emergency was declared.
Wyoming County Fire and Emergency Management Director Tony Santoro explained, "Because their government is not functioning right now as the government should be, it allows the state to come up and help them get things running. Hopefully we'll be up and running in a day or two."
The fire hall will now serve as a courthouse. The Bank of Castile has offered office space for the village and town governments at no charge.
Castile Town Supervisor Stephen Tarbell said, "You don't know what a relief that is and it's an example of a corporation like the Bank of Castile, a family-owned bank that steps up to the plate."
The building dates back to 1882. Some of the government records inside were salvaged, but it hasn't been determined what's been lost.
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