Crews battle large fire at Herkimer Diamond Mines gift shop

Herkimer Diamond Mine gift shop (WKTV-Utica)

(WKTV-Utica) A portion of one of Herkimer County's biggest tour attractions has burned to the ground.

The Herkimer Diamond Mines gift shop and offices on Route 28 in Herkimer caught fire around 6:20 a.m. Saturday, WKTV News Channel 2 in Utica reported.

A whole team of investigators were on the scene all day Saturday. About 10 fire departments and more than 100 firefighters were battling the flames. The flames were so hot that an emblem on a firetruck more than 100 yards away actually melted.

"I just raised the shades and I said oh my gosh it's on fire," said Herkimer resident Peg Allen. "And Kayden here, my grandson, and my husband got up. We were dressed in two seconds to come up and see what was going on."

The primary wooden structure of the site went up quick, according to Middleville Fire Chief Roger Hensley.

"It's probably been 10 fire departments. We had some on dry hydrants on a village hydrant, we had some that were pulling water out of the crate cross the road close Route 28," Hensley said.

According to the owner, the building was built back in 1859 and was originally a cow barn. But inside, some valuables may be lost forever.

"They just found a cluster of diamonds that actually look like the state of New York," Hensley said. "They had a cluster of diamonds that look like a cross that she told me they found on the day of 9/11 at the time the second tower went down they found that cluster."

The owner said that no one was in the building at the time of the fire. No one was hurt and the diamond mines were not damaged. In fact, the mines were open by Saturday afternoon for the hundreds who were staying at the Herkimer Diamond Mine K-O-A Campgrounds right across the street.

An investigation of the fire is ongoing.

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