Fire marshall investigating cause of fire at former Friendly’s in downtown Concord

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  • Firefighters work to control a fire at the former Friendly’s restaurant on North Main Street in Concord on Tuesday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Firefighters battle a fire at the former Friendly’s restaurant on North Main Street in Concord on Tuesday night, October 13, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Firefighters battle a fire at the former Friendly’s restaurant on North Main Street in Concord on Tuesday night, October 13, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Firefighters battle a fire at the former Friendly’s restaurant on North Main Street in Concord on Tuesday night, October 13, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Pembroke firefighters were among those who assisted Concord at a fire the former Friendly’s on North Main Street. Courtesy of Jay Heath

  •  TOP: A large hole is seen in the roof of the former Friendly’s on North Main Street after a serious fire. (ALLIE St.PETER photo)

  • A Concord firefighter shovels debris at the former Friendly’s restaurant on North Main Street in Concord. ALLIE ST. PETER / Monitor staff

  • Firefighters battle the flames and smoke at the site of the former Friendly's restaurant on North Main Street in Concord on Tuesday night, October 13, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Firefighters battle the flames and smoke at the site of the former Friendly's restaurant on North Main Street in Concord on Tuesday night, October 13, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Firefighters battle the flames from ladders at the former Friendly’s restaurant on North Main Street in Concord on Tuesday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Firefighters battle the flames and smoke at the site of the former Friendly's restaurant on North Main Street in Concord on Tuesday night, October 13, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/14/2020 3:19:56 AM

By the time Concord firefighters arrived at 203 N. Main St., just before 7 p.m. Tuesday night, flames had already made it into the attic area of the old Friendly’s restaurant.

Callers reported a fire in the downtown Concord building just four minutes earlier, but the vacant brick-sided building didn’t stand a chance.

The fire scorched the structural supports of the attic and roof, making it too dangerous for firefighters to remain in the building and extinguish it from within.

“All companies were ordered evacuated after 10 minutes and we moved to a defensive operation,” said Concord interim Fire Chief Guy Newbery.

They hosed water on the building from the ground and from hoses above on ladder trucks as rain poured down. The flames continued to tear through the roof, gutting the building and roasting all the old restaurant equipment inside.

“It was wood-truss construction in an unsprinklered building, so the fire spread rapidly,” Newbery said, adding there were no fire alarms inside either. “The fire had a significant headway on our arrival.”

Thick black smoke, held close to the ground by the wet, soggy weather, blanketed Concord’s downtown. A portion of Main Street was shut down for several hours.

Firefighters cleared the scene around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night but kept an eye on the building overnight. By Wednesday morning they started investigating what caused a fire to start in a 2,500 square foot building that has been dormant for almost exactly a year.

It was too soon to say if it looked like arson or even if the fire was considered suspicious, Newbery said, since the investigation was just getting under way.

“We don’t have anything to confirm anything like that,” Newbery said.

That Friendly’s closed in October, 2019 despite a loyal following from a few regular patrons who said it had a different homey feel than the other Friendly’s location on Loudon Road, which still remains open.

The building was constructed in 1967, according to city tax records. It is owned by SIC Property, a firm based in Boca Raton, Fla., and is valued at $603,500.  




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