BELMONT — The cause of a Dec. 29 fire at the former cookie factory on Farnsworth Road in Cuba remains undetermined — and is likely to stay that way, Allegany County Fire and Emergency Services Coordinator Jeff Luckey said at this week’s Public Safety Committee meeting.
The building caught fire around 8 p.m. with Cuba firefighters arriving on scene and reporting flames through a window. Friendship, Oramel, Belfast, New Hudson and Clarksville also were involved in the response, which saved most of the structure from serious damage.
“Cuba did an excellent job preventing that building from sustaining more damage than it did,” Luckey said. “They only lost one kind of a three-car garage section of it that was attached to the main part of the building.”
Due to the nature of the structure as a commercial building, Luckey said state officials were brought in but investigators could not pin down a cause.
“We worked all day the next day and it is still undetermined,” Luckey said. “We’ve done all we can with it.”
D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Co., Inc. closed the Cuba cookie factory at the end of 2017, consolidating manufacturing into production facilities located in York, Pa., and Santa Ana, Calif.
Luckey said the building was undergoing an ownership transition at the time of the fire.
“A new owner was in the process of moving in,” he said. “They didn’t take ownership yet.”
In other business, Luckey said the county had a string of accidents involved tractor trailers in December. On Dec. 10, a semi overturned near the former truck stop at the intersection of state Route 19 and County Road 20.
Dec. 16 featured a three-vehicle accident involved a log truck.
On Dec. 18, a Niagara County man was killed in a crash on I-86 involving a van and a tractor-trailer hauling cows.
According to Amity-based State Police, both vehicles left the highway before striking a ditch and then a tree. Troopers said the driver of a 2007 Ford Econoline, John R. Shaw, 32, of Newfane, was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers said the Econoline was eastbound at approximately 8:30 a.m. in the driving lane. After switching to the passing lane, it struck the front bumper of a 2000 Peterbilt tractor-trailer hauling 32 cows. Nine cows were killed as well.
Luckey commended local firefighters for “thinking outside the box” in rounding up the remaining cattle scattered around the area after the crash. A livestock hauler was brought in from Centerville and the animals were transferred from the scene.
“It was a great effort by everybody,” Luckey said.