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A view of the fire scene from the across the street on the roof of the Rialto Theater. Photo by David Fuller. (click for larger version)
January 23, 2013
LANCASTER—There were no injuries at a fire at the Tri-County CAP building on Main Street that severely damaged it but left it structurally sound.

The Lancaster Fire Department was toned out at 6:33 p.m. to the report of a structure fire on Main Street. They arrived to find that a fire had started in the recently closed Tri-County CAP thrift store on the first floor of 73 Main St., according to Lancaster Assistant Fire Chief Steven Jones. The fire spread to the second floor of the building. The fire was mostly in the center of the structure, he said.

The three occupants of a second floor apartment escaped without injury.

"It was a difficult fire to fight," Jones. "In an old building like that there are lots of voids in the wall where a fire can hide and move in the building."

Jones characterized the damage as "signoifcant but the building is structurally sound."

The fire appeared to have been caused by electrical wiring associated with electric baseboard heating in the building, according to a press release by the state fire marshal's office.

There were about 75 firefighters from several area fire departments at the two alarm fire including Lancaster, Lunenburg, Groveton, Stratford, Jefferson, Dalton, Whitefield, Bethlehem and Littleton. Station coverage was also provided by Colebrook and Twin Mountain Fire Departments.

Restaurants from the town provided food and water for firefighters and the lobby of the Rialto Theater was used as resta area for tired firefighters to rest.

Firefighters checked neighboring structures to make sure the fire had not spread, including the Coos County Democrat. It had not and the fire was contained to the one building.

The fire was considered out around 10:30 p.m. and units began to be released around that time, Jones said.

The building is next to the Simon the Tanner Building which was devastated by a fire in the 1990s and across from where the Lancaster Diner once stood, destroyed by a fire June 10, 1996. That block was never rebuilt and remains an empty lot to this day.

Martin Lord Osman
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