Burned Manchester Building Razed Today

A burned-out historic building on Main Street in Manchester will be torn down this morning after another delay in the demolition process.

The hundred-year-old building at 801 Main Street was ravaged by a three-alarm fire last weekend and needs to be razed.

According to fire officials, the company hired to demolish the building, BriCo Environmental Services Solutions, was not properly licensed to do the work and had to sub-contract another business to do the demolition. The work was delayed throughout the day Friday while workers waited for heavy equipment to be brought in. 

Demolition crews finally got to work shortly after 5 p.m. Friday. The entire structure was expected to be leveled on Friday night, according to fire officials, but the contractor reversed that decision and ended work around 7 p.m.  The demolition resumed this morning and will continue into the week.

"The whole process won't end today," said Manchester Fire Chief Robert Bycholski. "Getting this stuff out of here will probably take place during the week. The big deal is getting the building down, but it will allow us to move on."

It's the second demolition setback in a week. On Monday, demolition was halted while insurance adjusters inspected the scene.

The building was home to the Great Harvest Bread Co., as well as a convenience store, a pawn shop and at least 20 apartments.

Bycholski said the fire seemed to be sparked by an electrical accident, and that the flames started in the basement underneath Great Harvest Bread.

Great Harvest shared a basement with the convenience store next door.

Officials said the fire broke out around 9:30 p.m. Oct. 12 and burned well into the night. Firefighters worked for hours to beat down the stubborn flames, which spread from the basement to the first floor and into the walls.

Bycholski said the fire continued to gain momentum as crews worked to stamp out the flames, creeping up toward the second floor and an adjacent building.

Five aerial trucks and a dozen hand lines doused the building with water, according to Bycholski.

No injuries were reported, but emergency responders escorted apartment residents out of the building as the flames grew and the smoke spread. 

Now the bakery owners are left to pick up the pieces of the devastation that wiped out their business. Owners Jean and Dale Roberts said they still aren't sure what the next step entails.

The couple said they choked back tears while they watched the building burn.

"We put so much into it," Jean Roberts said. "It was our baby."

The couple said they hope to rebuild if the money is there but that it's too soon to know for sure how the situation will play out.

"It now becomes, unfortunately, a numbers game," said Dale Roberts.

Locals said the bakery was hugely popular and that the owners have long been known for their generosity.

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