LACONIA — Officials estimate a fire in the former Skate Escape/Aubuchon Hardware building on the corner or Fair and Court Streets caused over $1-million in damages early Sunday morning. From the street, approximately two-thirds of the building at 161 Court Street appears to have been gutted.
Chief Ken Erickson said the blaze was fueled in part by an old asphalt/wood roof under a newer rubber membrane.
Erickson said firefighters responded to an alarm at 2:30 a.m. and called immediately for a second alarm when they saw smoke billowing from eaves around the roof. The blaze went to three-alarms and crews from as far away as Concord and Holderness Lakes Region firefighters to battle the blaze.
According to city records, the 27,000-square-foot building has been owned since 2004 by M.T. McCarthy Realty Holdings. The building is subdivided into five rental spaces. Current tenants include LRGHealthcare (laundry facility), Little Ceasars Pizza and Northeast Electrical Solutions.
Most locals referred to the building as Aubuchon's until the hardware store company closed its doors several years ago. More recently the same space has home to Skate Escape but that business in also now closed.
The front portion of the building, roughly a 50-ft. X 50-ft. square was to be torn down to help make way for the Advanced Auto Parts Store that is in the early stages of construction in the southwest corner of the lot.
Erickson said firefighters were able to spare the LRGHealthcare laundry, which is on the Fair Street side of the building. An additional fire on Bay Street, which is one street west of Fair St. may have been started by embers flying from the building despite Sunday's rain.
No one was injured and Erickson said the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.