Fire Destroys Cambridge Building

POSTED BY: Katie Jeffries
Sunday, September 27, 2009 - 07:35 PM
Cambridge Fire Destroys Building


An early morning fire destroyed a historic building in Cambridge and forced residents to evacuate their apartments. WHIZ's Katie Jeffries has the story. 

The smell of smoke is still hanging in the air around Cambridge. 

Around 1:30 this morning a fire broke out in a historic, three-story building on Wheeling Avenue. Firefighters from Cambridge and surrounding areas spent the next four hours battling the blaze.

"We thought we could get in there and do a very quick knock down, but unfortunately the amount of fire that was there and facing us, we decided to go defensive, but we concentrated on keeping the fire in that building and keeping it from spreading to the other buildings,"says Assistant Fire Chief Jim Jackson of the Cambridge Fire Deparment.

Around 50 residents from the adjacent Berwick Apartments were evacuated. A firewall between the buildings is credited with saving the apartment complex.

Fire officials say the building did not have a sprinkler system and nobody was inside at the time of the blaze.

The building housed four businesses and one vacant apartment. It was over 100-years-old.

"This is quite a historic structure. It has been there quite a while, back in 1898 this entire block burned and this is one of the buildings that is a replacement from the fire in 1898," tells Assistant Chief Jackson. 

Now all that is left is a smoldering pile of rubble. 

For business owners like Anne Marie Pavlov the loss is hard to bear.

"As soon as we came in we could tell the downtown was on fire, at least a building was, and I had a little bit of goodness in my heart because I knew it wasn't my building, but for 20 years that building was ours and I grew up in there... so it is sad," says Pavlov as she holds back tears.

Pavlov's family music store used to occupy the building before they moved their business across the street. She witnessed the her old building burn to the ground.

"I quickly went into our current music store, which is across the street, and the heat was unbelievable coming off the building and then the window blew out and I was happy I was in our building because it was dangerous," tells Pavolv.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation by fire inspectors and the State Fire Marshall's office. But the building is considered a total loss and will be demolished. Power to the block will remain off until tomorrow.

Much like the fire in 1898, all residents can do now is clean up and rebuild.

With WHIZ news, I'm Katie Jeffries

The County Administration Building located next to the burnt building is closed tomorrow. All employees are asked not to report to work due to smoke damage and power loss.



Katie Jeffries

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