Brennan Motor Company

Maybe two or three weeks ago a fire broke out at the former Brennan Motor Company buildings that line a portion of Townsend Street in downtown Syracuse, NY. A piece of local and national history, the Brennan Motor Company was one of the first auto builders in the United States producing a range of cars and trucks from 1902 to 1908. After exiting the auto market the company successfully produced a range of small engines commonly used in marine applications until the mid 1970’s.

Brennan Motor Company

The complex has been empty for decades now and slow rotting away with a barricade ringing the property to protect pedestrians from falling bricks. Developers once had plans to raze the buildings for the creation of a parking lot but were stymied by the City and other preservation organizations. The fire broke out midday and was a real challenge to fire crews as the building has partially collapsed floors and walls. By the time my lunch break rolled around two trucks were still on scene while a crew poked around for any remaining hot spots. Here we seen Engine 10 still hooked up to the hydrant.

Syracuse Fire Department

Also on the scene was ST-2 (spare truck 2) an older Sutphen powered by a Detroit, maybe a Series 60.

Syracuse Fire Department Spare Truck 2

Thanks to Andy for being the first to call 911 about this fire!

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One Response to Brennan Motor Company

  1. Andy says:

    I originally thought as I spotted the smoke that the Smiths Restaurant Supply, the far left building in the pictures with the trucks in them, was roasting coffee. I realized the smoke was coming from the Brennan building instead. I was doing all this while buzzing over the off ramp from 690 E to 81 S. After calling this in, and then continuing my way to LaFayette, I came back to get a look at what was going on and talk to fire investigators.
    They were hosing the hot spots and I over heard on the scanner that there was a fire in “crawl space” between the 1st and 2nd floors. It looked like they were using a foam to battle this part of the fire. I asked and they said it was “wet water.”
    The chatter on the scanner also, they reported a hole in the 2nd floor.
    I also heard over the scanner that a crew went up on the 3rd floor to check for fire. The radio traffic indicated heavy smoke and they couldn’t see anything… Another voice came over the radio and said if there was any fire at all on the 3rd floor, to evacuate since the roof was being held up by scaffolding. After they removed the windows, they gave the all clear for fire.

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