FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A historic building in Fall River that went up in flames earlier this week has been torn down.
The Brightman Street commercial building caught fire Tuesday night and officials said the damage was too extensive to salvage.
The demolition began Friday morning, which included pushing all of the debris into the building’s 12-foot basement. The debris will sit as a pile of rubble for at least 10 days and will be removed once it’s treated for any potential asbestos.
The building used to house a casket manufacturer and before that, it was home to the historic Royal Theatre. The property sold last year for $10,000, according to city records.
“It is sad because it was a historical building,” Fall River Building Commissioner Glenn Hathaway said. “The owner purchased it with the intent to [turn it back into] a theater.”
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Fall River Fire Chief Roger St. Martin told 12 News the building was previously deemed a hazard due to its condition and close proximity to other buildings. It was one of several “high-risk” buildings in the city that firefighters have studied.
It’s unclear what caused the fire. St. Martin said arson has not been ruled since the building isn’t hooked up to utilities and has had its fair share of trespassers in the past.
The Arson Watch Reward Program is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information on the fire’s origin. Anyone with information should contact the Massachusetts Arson Watch Hotline at 1-800-682-9229.