Blaze Claims Last Standing Building in Cohoes

By Fred Furnace

Published May 10th, 2015

Cohoes' interim city hall parked in front of blaze

COHOES – A Remsen Street building — the only one that had yet to burn down in the city — has finally met the same fate as every other structure that had ever existed in Cohoes.

“We all knew this day would come,” Cohoes Mayor Chuck McDoop said of Friday’s suspected arson. “You can’t have as many fires as we do and expect to still have buildings. Eventually, you are going to run out and, today, we finally did.”

McDoop made his statements from outside a blue Ford Econoline passenger van, which has served as City Hall ever since that building burned to the ground in 2003.

Cohoes was once known nationally for its booming textile mills. But in recent years, it has been nationally known, instead, for its fires. In fact, since 1976, nearly every standing structure in town had been ravaged by flames in some fashion.

In 1992, Time magazine named Cohoes “Arson Capital of the United States,” an honor the town retained for 24 consecutive years. And over the past four decades, the city averaged 6.8 fires per week.

“You could pretty much count on a structure fire every day in that town,” stated renowned Cohoes historian and Mr. Subb franchise owner, J. Feelgood Grabbcock. “You could set your watch to it. That kind of consistency was impressive. It will be missed.”

McDoop agreed: “We had a good run here in Cohoes. Arsons were always a bit of an issue for us, sure, but we had other problems too, including abject poverty, depression and gonorrhea. My point is: you can’t blame everything on the fires. And there were good times, too.

“Heck,” said McDoop. “When things weren’t burning down, we were one hell of a town!”


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