Fire demolishes historic Leominster building
LEOMINSTER, Mass. (WHDH) -- Massive flames tore through a former hotel on Main Street in Leominster, collapsing part of the historic building.
The fierce flames consumed the building fast and injured two firefighters.
The building has stood in Leominster for more than a hundred years. It was damaged beyond repair in a matter of hours.
“It’s been here forever, they just renovated the bar around the corner, put 100k into it,” said Joe Ouellette, who lives nearby.
The former Colombia Hotel on Main Street was most recently home to a handful of businesses and a few dozen apartments.
Fire officials said around 11 p.m. Saturday, a fire began in the attic and quickly spread.
“It was burning down the hallway towards the bank, and they were trying to get ahead of it, but they could just never get ahead of it,” said Dep. Chief Scott Cordio, Leominster Fire Dept.
Everyone had already been evacuated when the fire grew out of control.
The blaze soon went to six alarms, ladder trucks from Leominster and several neighboring towns surrounded the giant building.
When the roof collapsed, it knocked out the top part of the brick wall, crushing the cars below and nearly seriously injuring several firefighters.
“They got lucky, part of the wall landed in the bucket, a beam landed on the side of them, they received minor injuries,” said Dep. Chief Cordio.
The two injured firefighters are expected to be okay. The 30 to 40 people displaced are currently staying at a local hotel.
City leaders are already vowing to help them and the business owners who lost their shops.
“The water damage, there was four inches of water when I walked through, so it’s pretty devastating. Some pieces I saw were completely lost,” said business owner, Diane Gariepy.
“We have some insurance, but it's our livelihood in a way, it's just really sad,” said another business owner, Colette Smith.
Fire officials said the building will have to be torn down, but not before fire investigators get inside to figure out what sparked this historic blaze.
“It's gonna leave a big scar when they tear it down, it's been here forever,” said Dep. Chief Cordio.
“The history of the building is something that if it has to come down, you're never gonna be able to replace the history that's been lost here,” said David Cormier, Leominster City Council.