GENESEO – Two local residents who first saw and reported the fire that tragically destroyed Kelly’s Saloon on Wednesday made valiant efforts to fight the flames with everything they had until they were overwhelmed by smoke.
Matt Griffo says that he originally saw the smoke, called 911, and arrived at the scene with Don Livingston to find the back door of Kelly’s completely engulfed in black smoke.
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“I was coming home when I saw the billowing black smoke, and I thought ‘That’s not good,'” said Griffo. “I yelled to Don who was working in his building, and he retrieved the hose and sprayed the fire, which was at the back entrance door on the ground and climbing the wall. After just 3 to 4 minutes, the smoke just became overwhelming and we had to get out of there.”
At one point, Griffo tried to take a quick glimpse inside of Kelly’s.
“I touched the door and it was not hot, so I opened it to check inside,” said Griffo. “I had to instantly close the door again because the whole inside was completely filled with smoke. You couldn’t even see two feet inside.”
Griffo added that Geneseo Fire Chief Andrew Chanler quickly appeared on scene and directed them on how to react to the developing blaze.
“Chief took one look at the fire and knew this was going to be really bad,” said Griffo. “He told Don to throw water on his building and get out of there.”
Fortunately, firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the Kelly’s building. Kelly’s, Honey Girl’s Gourmet, and two overhead apartments were lost.
Honey Girl’s Gourmet’s owner, Alyssa Cope, says that she will be back in business as soon as she can.
SUNY Geneseo is assisting students who lost their property and a place to stay.
The building is to be demolished and rebuilt from the bottom up.