Ellis Brothers Furniture won’t let fire get them down

Matt Martin
April 30, 2014

Ellis Brothers Furniture, one of the oldest businesses in downtown Binghamton, was ravaged by fire yesterday. All four floors of the 19th century brick building were seared and blackened by the flames.

The call went out to first responders at around 7:30 Wednesday morning. Officials evacuated surrounding buildings as black smoke blanketed all of downtown.

Deputy Fire Chief Larry Ostanek says the departments main priority was to stop the blaze from moving to other buildings.

“So once the combustibles inside, the furniture, the carpeting, that burns very hot. And there was nowhere for the heat to go so it became an inferno inside the building,” says Ostanek.

While they succeeded in containing the fire, the Ellis Brothers building was heavily damaged.

Firefighters started by attacking the fire inside the building, but the flames got too big. So they worked from neighboring rooftops and ladders for three hours until the fire was contained.

Chuck Ellis is Vice President of Ellis Brothers Furniture.

Ellis says the building was a gift from his grandfather to his father after returning from World War 2.

“We have a very sentimental tie to the building,” says Ellis.

Ellis Brothers has been in business in Binghamton for over a hundred years.

The fire comes during an ongoing revitalization of Downtown Binghamton. Ellis says his company has benefited from the new downtown.

“All the new restaurants and breweries, I mean it’s come alive again and we were quite frankly enjoying all of that,” says Ellis.

Ellis says the store’s main location on Washington Street will be open for business today. And as for the burned building.

“We have every intention of rebuilding that building exactly where it is,” says Ellis. 

Deputy Chief Ostanek says the cause of the fire is unknown. There were no injuries.