Fire Roars Through Cambridge Springs Building, Damaging New Brewpub
Fire ripped through an historic commercial building on South Main Street in Cambridge Springs Sunday evening calling out volunteer firefighters from northern Crawford and Southern Erie County. More than thirteen fire companies from Perry Highway to Meadville assisted.
The fire broke out at 6:51 p.m. in a two story brick building at 278 S. Main Street. The building was in the process of being turned into a new brewpub - Hardwaters Brewing. Sources tell us crews had just installed a bar in the business on Saturday.
Thick, heavy smoke billowed from the top of the building as fire broke through the roof.
Smoke was spreading to the neighboring buildings as the flames threatened to damage those as well.
At the height of the fire, they called for more aerial ladder trucks---five of them poured water from above as firefighters worked to contain the flames.
Fire officials have not said what sparked the fire. Their focus was on doing their best to prevent the fire from spreading across firewalls to the buildings on either side. Those buildings survived but are expected to have significant smoke and water damage.
Just before midnight the aerial trucks began to retreat. At that time firefighters called for additional tanker trucks to ferry water from a nearby creek.
After the loss of the Riverside Inn and other large fires in Cambridge Springs, Mayor Randy Gorske called the scene disheartening. "Unfortunately we've had so many fires in the recent years in big structures, it's really disheartening at times, but I still see a positive spirit here, everyone's saddened by the loss tonight, but we're seeing a lot of resilience and people who are just wanting to be here to help out the best they can."
Community resident Tracie Racop came to the scene as the fire was spreading. She coordinated help to provide food and water to relieve the firefighters. "As it grew and grew, I knew we were going to need to feed the firemen," Racop said, "so I just put out a call to the Deputy Mayor Delores Hale, she posted on facebook anyone wants to donate anything they can bring it to the firehall."
As it turned out, the firehall lost power during the firefight, so the food operation moved to a former trolley station.
Sources at the fire scene tell Erie News Now that all tenants in the upper floors escaped to safety, but one tenant's dog may have perished in the fire. He has not been seen.
According to the mayor, the building at 278 S. Main was home to Smith's Hardware for many years, and the current owners are Rob and Debbie Miller. Debbie's father was the previous owner.
Penncrest school officials posted that schools will operate on a two hour delay Monday, saying "Thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by the Cambridge fire as well as all battling the blaze."