Financial worries in Brattleboro following a devastating fire
Brattleboro, Vermont - April 19, 2011
People of Brattleboro stopped, pointed and stared at an empty space that used to be their emblem.
"People were looking at this building as a member of our family, as a member of the Brattleboro community and saying please, we know that this was hard for you, we'll help you get better and we want you to get better," said Jerry Goldberg of the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce.
Fire officials say the integrity of the building is sound; they plan to remove the penthouse section of the fourth floor and keep everything else intact if possible. Chief Michael Bucossi confirmed an accidental electrical issue caused the blaze that displaced residents from 59 apartments. It also closed 10 businesses in the heart of downtown.
"I enjoyed living there because it was a part of history," Deanna Garcia said.
Garcia lived in the Brooks House on Main Street for four years. Now her home is the Red Cross disaster relief center down the block. The Red Cross arrived within hours of Sunday night's fire that virtually shut down downtown.
While the east side of Main Street opened to foot traffic Tuesday, the west side and Main Street remained closed. Business owners like Richard French worry the lack of traffic will hurt business downtown. French's cafe, the Works, shares a wall with the Brooks House.
"We had water damage on the retail floor here and quite a bit of water in our basement," French said.
Despite some water damage, French reopened the restaurant Tuesday.
"Today looks like we'll be at half of our regular sales and don't know tomorrow and the next few days out. I think a lot of it is dependent on what happens on Main Street," he said.
"Foot traffic is going to be a major problem," Goldberg said. "We're heading into a season sort of soon, if it ever happens, where we want people to be here."
Goldberg says the emotional impact rivals the economic blow. He worries the empty storefronts will keep visitors out of the downtown area.
"We have an interesting story to tell, so it's going to be difficult on businesses and some businesses of course as you can imagine won't open for the season," he said.
Goldberg says they're thankful no one was hurt in the fire, so they have the luxury of worrying about the economic impact. Investigators have yet to release the estimated cost of rebuilding the historic Brooks House.
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:19 AM EST2013-12-08 14:19:27 GMT
Whether it's already cut and waiting or still hiding in the field, a tree farm can hold that perfect centerpiece for your holiday living room. And at Werner Tree Farm in Middlebury, they say pickingMore >>
If you're celebrating Christmas and you don't already have your tree, chances are you're thinking of getting one. More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:19 AM EST2013-12-08 14:19:23 GMT
The sun is completing a "solar flip," and that means many people could have the best chance in a decade of seeing the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. NASA says every 11 years the sun's polar magneticMore >>
We check in on some of the week's big science stories, including why the Northern Lights may be more visible soon.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:09 AM EST2013-12-08 12:09:14 GMT
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York. The licenses will be awarded next year after voters passed an amendment allowing Vegas-style casinos outside Indian land. FourMore >>
Competition could be fierce for new casino licenses in upstate New York.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:06 AM EST2013-12-08 12:06:06 GMT
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used. The Adirondack Park Agency is considering recommendations for the land in the towns of IndianMore >>
Talks next week in New York will try to determine how new state land in the central Adirondacks can be used.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 7:04 AM EST2013-12-08 12:04:16 GMT
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg. Police say at about 8:40 p.m. Gerald Begin rolled his car on Route 5 and was thrown out of the vehicle. He was taken toMore >>
A 28-year-old Coventry man is dead after a crash Saturday night in Irasburg.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-08 01:43:53 GMT
Police in New Hampshire are investigating an accident on Interstate 89 that claimed two lives. It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon. The initial investigation revealedMore >>
It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon, N.H. Saturday.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:38 PM EST2013-12-08 01:38:15 GMT
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork. Emily Lyman died of Leukemia at just fifteen years old, in December of last year. Now, her mother, Monica Lyman, is holdingMore >>
A Burlington family is remembering the life of a young teen through artwork.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:17 PM EST2013-12-08 01:17:57 GMT
There's still plenty of time to check off gifts on that Christmas list. The 21st Annual Vermont International Festival has something for everyone. The event began at the Champlain Valley Exposition asMore >>
Shoppers could find everything from Yoga mats from South America to jewelry from Tibet.More >>