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Businessman specialized in knocking down buildings

August 12, 2010
By Robyn Near




In September 1960 a local businessman named Ray Burgun began his long career helping to build Kinzua Dam.  Fifty years later, in 2010, his business was still thriving until his untimely death in April of this year. 


Mr. Burgun went to work on Cockaigne Ski Resort after Kinzua Dam, as well as digging many man-made lakes in the Western New York and Pennsylvania area.  After years of excavating and land fill work, mainly in Dunkirk and Stockton, Burgun decided he wanted to go into the demolition business.  With his sons, Mike, Don and Ron, and a co-worker Joseph McKoy, Raymond Burgun Trucking Company changed direction and became one of the most sought-after demolition companies in the area.


The Dunkirk and Jamestown renewal demolition projects were done in large part by Burgun Trucking. As Burgun’s work ethic spread, they were contracted to work in Olean, Bradford, Salamanca, Buffalo and Erie, among many other areas.  There was no job too big, from knocking down a 12 story building to bringing down a 250 foot smokestack. He and his demolition crew worked on such projects as the Greystone Hotel in Westfield, St. Elmo Hotel in Chautauqua Institute, and the urban renewal project for the city of Dunkirk.


The business was not just tearing places down, however.  Burgun also contracted to move the old Brocton railroad station to Route 20 and it is now the Portland Museum.  He also moved the old telephone building on Goodrich Street, Ripley to its new home near the bank on Main Street.  Unfortunately, an arsonist burned the building down some time later and Burgun was called in again to haul away the charred remains.


To Ray Burgun, a handshake was a man’s word that sealed the deal.  He was a well known and respected businessman who worked his profession for 50 years.  Many associates have remarked they will miss working with him and his amusing story telling.  His last day on the job was at the fire on Central Avenue in Dunkirk.  Ray died as the result of a tragic accident while repairing a piece of machinery, preparing to tear one more building down.

Article Photos

In September 1960 a local businessman named Ray Burgun began his long career helping to build Kinzua Dam. Fifty years later, in 2010, his business was still thriving until his untimely death in April of this year. To Ray Burgun, a handshake was a man’s word that sealed the deal.

 
 

 

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