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Three-alarm fire at former Rochester Riverside Hotel

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It took dozens of Rochester firefighters to deal with a three-alarm fire at the former Riverside Hotel on East Main Street Wednesday night.

They got the initial call just after 6:30 p.m. for a report of smoke coming from the now-vacant building.

Crews had to force their way in through the loading dock, and they found two rooms in utility areas of the first floor with a fire that was well underway in that area.

Officials say that the first and second floors of the attached banquet facility were full of thick smoke, and a second alarm was called at that point for additional resources due to the size of the building.

Eventually a third alarm was called to deal with the spreading fire and to search the entire 7-story building. More than 55 firefighters were on the scene for nearly four hours to put out the fire and deal with the situation at that building.

Several fire departments from around the county provided backup through mutual aid for the city of Rochester during what authorities say was a ‘resource-heavy event.’

There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Riverside Hotel has been closed since 2020, and there have been plans to redevelop the building.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.