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Fire destroys historic downtown Berlin building

Union Leader Correspondent

July 18. 2014 9:08PM

BERLIN — A three-alarm fire of an as-yet unknown nature destroyed a downtown landmark that had been most recently used as a consignment shop Friday morning.

“It was one of the older buildings in town, but it’s destroyed now,” said fire department Capt. Bill Maddalena.

Firefighters were called at 3:45 106 Pleasant St. for a report that a fire had broken out inside the building, Maddalena said.

Crews found heavy smoke coming from the back end of the building. Firefighters needed the third alarm to bring enough heavy equipment to the site, he said, and to get through the heavy fire among items in the consignment shop.

“It’s hard to explain how hard it was to go through all of that stuff, things were smoldering and there were just a lot if items in the shop to deal with,” Maddalena said.

The fire was brought under control by 8:25 a.m.

“That was actually a pretty good time, getting it under control that soon, considering what we were dealing with,” he said.

“But the building is a total loss, we couldn’t save it,” he said.

Investigators from the city and the state fire marshal were on the scene during the day Friday, looking for a cause. Nothing has been ruled out for a cause, and Maddalena could not say if the fire might be suspicious in nature.

“We really don’t know much yet,” he said.

The chief said the fire department had not yet determined who owns the property, and so could not release the store owner’s name.

The building, he said, has had many owners and uses over the years, and has only in recent years been a consignment shop.

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