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Heavy downpour blamed for collapse of vacant Bethlehem buiilding

BETHLEHEM – A large vacant building fronting Route 302 will be torn down today after a large portion of it collapsed during Thursday night's torrential downpour.

?We're getting ready to take the whole building down,? Fire Chief Jack Anderson said Friday morning.

He said about two inches of rain fell in a half-hour Thursday night, causing the already deteriorating and leaking roof to collapse into the third and then the second floors, where water had pooled from the downpour.

?A little more of it came down at 2:30 a.m.? today, he said.

The 50-by-150-foot building, erected in the late 1800s, has been vacant for several years but previously housed a pizza parlor and multiple businesses, according to Anderson.

A crew from Spears Brothers Building and Wrecking in Laconia is on its way to demolish the building.

Anderson said he expected the building, which is four stories in one section, and three in another, will be on the ground by the end of the day although the rubble will not be cleared out.

The building is located near the juncture of Routes 142 and 302. A section of Route 302 was closed down as a safety precaution.


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