LACONIA — Pitman's Freight Room, a live entertainment venue that has apparently been targeted on two separate occasions by a firebug, will reopen this weekend with live shows scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Owner Dick Mitchell said yesterday that he replaced about 30-feet of wall on the outside of the building on New Salem Street and 15-feet of wall on the inside. He said they heating and air conditioning system were replaced as well.
"It's a real pain in the butt," Mitchell said yesterday referring to the fires. "It's like someone standing on your fingers when you're trying to get up."
He said he can't be angry at the person or people who have set the fires because he doesn't know who they are.
"Both of our fires were set the same night as the dumpsters at (nearby) Hector's (restaurant)," he said.
"I just wished they'd go away or get caught," he said, noting that security cameras and new smoke alarms have been installed and are working.
There have been two suspicious fires at Pitman's and both appear to have been set it the exact same place. The first was September 28 and the second was on October 30. These are two of some recent suspicious fires in the same area since September 22 when a three-alarm blaze gutted an industrial complex on the corner of Fair and Court Streets.
Firefighters were able to extinguish both of them and both of them caused most of the damage to the exterior of the building.
He said autumn is one of the best times of year for the Freight Room. He said the winter keeps people inside and in the summer, people often go to the Weirs, so the fall and spring are some of their busiest times.
Mitchell said there is a real desire and need for a live entertainment venue in downtown Laconia like Pitman's, which also serves as an occasional incubator for local talent looking for exposure.
"I know it's not a new idea, but it's one we like for downtown Laconia," he said.