(Host) A fire that swept through a historic building in downtown Brattleboro on Sunday was likely electrical, according to the Brattleboro Reformer, but it’s still unknown where in the building the fire started.
The blaze ravaged the Brooks House – a five story building that housed a handful of retail shops and 59 residential units.
Brattleboro police say no one was injured in the blaze. But the damage to the building is being felt by residents.
Wayne Carhart is the former President of the Brattleboro Historical Society. He says the Brooks House, which was originally a hotel, was built as a result of a devastating fire in 1869.
(Carhart) "Of course the irony of all this is at the time of the fire, all the buildings were of wooden construction. And the Brooks Hotel and the Crosby block had a brick veneer on them, which was to make them less susceptible to fire."
(Host) The entire Main Street block was shut down today while the damage was assessed.
Carhart says a bookstore and restaurant that were in the Brooks House were significant businesses that drew a large number of people downtown.
(Carhart) "It’s a significant loss to the town, because – especially at this time of year – where all the shops, at the very least, will be out of business for some time. And whether they return is another question."
(Host) State housing and development officials were on site today to help determine the options for redevelopment. And Governor Peter Shumlin toured the outside of the building, and urged the owner to focus on rebuilding the historic structure.