"The process has been slow, painfully slow," Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon said.
Piece by piece, workers are clearing out what's left of the historic old Key Bank. Lauzon bought the building and was just about to renovate the space into offices and apartments when it was torched. He still plans to rebuild, but clean up is slow.
"What we've done is made a chute inside the building, so we cut a hole in the interior of the building-- the first floor is seven and a half inches of concrete-- so we're pushing all the debris down into the hole into the first floor," Lauzon said.
Rehabbing the building will cost $1.5 million. It was insured for $700,000. Lauzon says making up the $800,000 gap is good for his business and also good for morale-- there are several empty downtown store fronts.
"If I can take a positive approach to it-- and I always try to-- we'll end up with a much better product," he said. "The buildings are so damaged that areas we were going to renovate we're going to be replacing. So when we're done I'm hopeful it will be one of the best buildings in Barre."
But the charred remains are a daily reminder that someone set the fire on Memorial Day. To help with leads, Lauzon is personally doubling the $5,000 reward.
"They are investigating several leads. Those leads don't look too promising at this point," Lauzon. "So maybe if we up the reward and get a little publicity about that people will make even more phone calls."
Lauzon says he hopes to have the building all fixed up by February 1.
If you have any information on the fire, call the arson tip line at 1-800-32-ARSON.
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:31 AM EST2014-03-08 13:31:36 GMT
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. His office says Governor Peter Shumlin will be at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. While theMore >>
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 AM EST2014-03-08 13:17:30 GMT
We have some ideas for your Saturday. IRISH FESTIVAL The 19th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival kicks off today. There is a lecture about the role of Irish immigrants in the Civil War at theMore >>