Fire Destroys Historic Massachusetts Building

BROCKTON, Mass. --

A 90-year-old building in downtown Brockton was reduced to rubble Friday when a four-alarm fire tore through the building.

NewsCenter 5's Steve Lacy reported that flames broke out at the five-story brick office building at 47 West Elm St., near the courthouse, at about 6 a.m.

"They had heavy fire showing from floor number three, extending into floor number four," Brockton Fire Department Chief Kenneth Galligan said.

After battling the fire for 15 minutes, firefighters had to retreat due to the intensity of the flames. Soon after, the building's overhang collapsed.

"We set up a collapse zone prior to that, and virtually all of it did come down," Galligan said.

Dispatchers said they believe the building was unoccupied at the time the blaze started and that there were no reports of any injuries.

Eighteen rooms of the hotel next door had to be evacuated. The owner credited the fire department with saving his business.

"They did an outstanding job. I couldn't believe how thorough they were. We didn't have any damage whatsoever, and we are 8 feet away from that inferno," hotel owner Arthur Yannone said.

Business owners whose offices were inside the building were not as fortunate. Ginger Lanigan owns a human service agency on the first floor of the building.

"I thought I was going to be sick," she said. "I have 600 clients, all of them disabled. We have all of their medical information. One of my case managers had a hearing in Boston today that she had to cancel. We've been in business 15 years. It's sad."

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