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‘Torching’ of weeds not done in city

In the aftermath of the Monday fire at Heenan’s Irish Pub, Fredonia’s statement said other municipalities in the state use hand torches to snuff out weeds.

In neighboring Dunkirk, at least, that’s not the case.

“We hire a licensed herbicide spray company and also remove weeds with strictly mechanical means like weed whackers and narrow hook rakes,” city Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury said Wednesday.

He wasn’t sure if other municipalities besides Fredonia use the torches. “I know nothing about torching weeds so I cannot speak to that,” he said.

Chautauqua County fire investigators said the Heenan’s blaze was sparked by a propane-fueled hand torch, used to destroy weeds. A village of Fredonia worker was allegedly using the torch. The fire was put out within an hour but did significant damage to one side of the building.

Shaun Heenan, owner of the bar, is also prominent in Dunkirk affairs.

See WEEDS, Page A3

He is a former Common Council member and county legislator. Heenan also narrowly lost the city’s last mayoral race in 2019, to Wilfred Rosas, with a count of 1,660 to 1,601 in favor of Rosas.

Woodbury said he was “glad” Heenan “was so gracious, and we wish him all success and speed as he rebuilds.” The DPW director also commented that “first responders did their trademark excellence.”

In a Facebook post at 10:49 p.m. Monday night, after the fire was out, the pub confirmed it will reopen.

“Thank you to the Fredonia, Dunkirk, East Dunkirk and Sheridan Fire Departments and the Fredonia Police Department for their quick response time and amazing hard work,” the post states. “You saved our business. And a heartfelt thank you to our friends, family and loved ones who came to show support and love. We will reopen and welcome each one of you with open arms.”

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