FIre Shuts Down Downtown Towanda

By Jared Kaplan

July 22, 2010 Updated Mar 28, 2006 at 12:34 AM EDT

A crew from Mattison's Bucket Service is spending another day tearing apart the top floor of this used furniture store on Main Street.

They're trying to make it safe after a fire gutted the former Bern Furniture building early Saturday morning.

Between 75 and 100 firefighters responded to the inferno.

A State Police Fire Marshal will look into what sparked it.

"We're trying to stabilize the building so we can get inside with the fire marshal to investigate the cause of the fire," says Assistant Fire Chief Bill Roof.

3 days later, traffic is still being detoured around the busy Main Street block.

Towanda Police say detours between Pine and Bridge street will continue for at least another day while the building is stabilized.

Even though the block is usually a busy shopping district, businesses are not worried about the impact.

"No, no. We had a fire on our side several years ago and we were up and running within a day," says Marlene Niemic of Marlene's Floral and Gifts.

As for the building, the Towanda Fire Department says it's likely the building is a total loss.

"Speculating, I believe it is going to be torn down. I heard code enforcement and several insurance people speculate it will be town down," says Roof.

If it's torn down, it could be a solution to Main Street's parking issue.

"Parking is terrible, half the time there's no space," says Holly Vanderpool of Towanda.

"Whether you can rebuild or just use it as a parking facility," says Chuck Noles of Towanda.

Whatever happens to the building, investigators want to make sure nothing happens before they can look into how the fire started.

A few nearby businesses suffered some smoke and water damage.

Most have found a way to stay open while they wait for repairs.

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