The early morning fire on August 27th at the former Charlestown Mall in Utica wreaked havoc last month on firefighters and residents of the Mohawk Valley.

It took most of the night and well into mid-morning before several fire crews were able to extinguish the blaze, which engulfed the enormous structure. Even after that, hot spots ignited for most of a week, sending what's believed to be toxic smoke throughout the region. Officials are now awaiting test results from New York State to determine what kind of toxins were actually emitted from the blaze and what potential health effects could have been caused. City officials warned residents from Utica and beyond, to keep their doors and windows closed to prevent the smoke from entering living spaces.

The old factory built in the early 1900s which manufactured guns during World War I and II as Savage Arms, then served as Sperry UNIVAC in the 1950s. In 1977, it was purchased by developer Charles A. Gaetano and was converted into Charlestown Outlet Mall in 1982. It lasted as a shopping outlet for the area until malls like Riverside and Sangertown consumed the public's attention, causing its closure in 1991.  Since then, the huge structure housed a small business center, and was struggling to survive, ultimately posing a threat to the community as several fires broke out in vacant parts of the complex over the years.  The building, most recently owned by attorney Michael Cancillo doing business as CharlesTown LLC, actually sits in both the City of Utica and the Town of Frankfort, causing a debate over which municipality was most responsible.

On August 30th, local photographers John Ivory and John Koslosky taped drone footage over the burned out complex. For those familiar with the complex and hopeful that the property would be redeveloped, it's shocking to see the level of destruction that this latest fire actually caused.

Watch the drone footage here.


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