Demolition of former Aubuchon building underway; hospital laundry will relocate

LACONIA — The owner of the fire-ravaged building at the corner of Fair and Court Street said yesterday that the laundry facility operated by LRGHeathcare will not be coming back to his building.

Owner Mike McCarthy was at the site yesterday afternoon wearing a white safety helmet and watching as a demolition team reduced the east portion of his former industrial building to rubble.

"It's all gone," he said wistfully.

McCarthy said he is not sure yet if the entire building needs to be razed but said LRGHeathcare has confirmed it will be relocating its laundry facility.

"They have told me they won't be coming back," he said.

He said fire officials and police have completed their investigation as far as the building fire is concerned and released the building to him.

McCarthy said he doesn't know yet how much he will rebuild.

The commercial building located at 164 Court Street went up in flames on September 22 at 2:30 a.m. The stubborn blaze went to three alarms and four ladder trucks were needed to finally extinguish it.

The fire was particularly difficult to fight said Fire Chief Ken Erickson because the multiple old roofs had been covered by a rubber membrane that initially prevented firefighters from getting water on to blaze.

Erickson has said the fire is suspicious and city fire officials spent much of week immediately after the blaze going over the building with state fire officials.

The portion of the building that housed the laundry is on the Fair Street side of the building. Erickson said at the time that firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the laundry portion, however that are was damaged by smoke and water.

The building was home to six business — including the LRGHeathcare laundry facilities, Northeast Electrical Services and Little Caesar's Pizza. Skate Escape had stored all of its equipment in the building while McCarthy renovated it with plans to reopen in a reconfigured space.

LRGHealthcare Chief Financial Officer Henry Lipman said yesterday that the LRGH laundry services will continue to operate in Laconia but said the details of their relocation are still to be determined.

He said the laundry service is being temporarily subcontracted to Kleen Laundry, however the employees who worked for the laundry have been kept employed within the company so there were no job losses.

Lipman said the laundry facilities processed about 1 million pounds of laundry annually for all of the LRGHealthcare entities.


CAPTION: (Court Street Fire Demolition) Cement rubble piles up as the burned-out industrial building on Court Street is demolished. The building was gutted in a 3-alarm fire on September 22. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)