Historic Peekskill firehouse crumbles during move

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A historic Peekskill firehouse collapsed Thursday just as it was scheduled to be moved to a new site.

The cause of the collapse of the firehouse that housed the Centennial Fire Company on Water Street and Central Avenue is still under investigation. But Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster says she was told by a contractor that there may have been a problem with a jack used to support the firehouse during the move.

?That was his assessment. He could show me where it looked like the one hydraulic jack was collapsed and not extended like the others were,? Foster says.

Early Thursday things were going smoothly as the contractor hired to move the firehouse began turning it around. The first phase of the two-day operation called for the building to first be turned 90 degrees, followed by a longer move down the street Friday.

The state Department of Transportation needed the firehouse to be moved to make room for a new bridge carrying Route 9 over Central Avenue. The Centennial Fire Company moved out of the building when new quarters were built in 1980.

But longtime members of the volunteer department were looking forward to saving the building they had used for many years.

?We miss it an awful lot now because we wanted that as a memorial for all the Centennial House members,? says Walter Becker of the Centennial Fire Company. ?And now what we got ? just nothing.?

The Centennial firehouse had been on Water Street and Central Avenue for more than a century. Because of the history associated with it, the city of Peekskill was trying to preserve the firehouse by moving it to another site.

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