Historic N.H. Lake Front Business Hit by Fire

LACONIA, N.H. -- A historic building on Weirs Beach in Laconia had heavy damage after a fire broke out early Friday morning. Firefighters spent the morning searching the Wide Open Saloon to make sure no one was inside the building. A cell...


LACONIA, N.H. --

A historic building on Weirs Beach in Laconia had heavy damage after a fire broke out early Friday morning.

Firefighters spent the morning searching the Wide Open Saloon to make sure no one was inside the building.

A cell phone call from a passer-by came into the Fire Department at about 3:30 a.m. Friday. The fire station is close by and firefighters were on scene within minutes, according to the fire chief.

"Crews immediately went into master streams. They were able to knock down the fire fairly quickly and then we made an aggressive interior attack," said Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson.

After 20 minutes, the fire got into the roof and crews had to back out. The fire wasn't the only concern.

"The primaries in front of this building are 34,000 volts. That's a very dangerous operation, especially when you get these tower ladders up," he said.

Erickson said a squatter was thrown out of the building Thursday night, and officials wanted to make sure that person didn't come back.

No one was found inside, but one section of the building was too dangerous to search.

The restaurant is a family steakhouse and bar. A local historian said the building was built in 1886.

"It's a landmark. It of course started as a very proper and gentile hotel," said historian Warren Huse.

The cost of the damage was not known.

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