Fire rips through a business and destroys multiple buildings in downtown Titusville. A cluster of four buildings was damaged by an early morning blaze. The fire starting on the first floor of Maria’s Italian Restaurant and working its way up.
Maria’s is completely destroyed and the building to the left of it, home of a non-profit organization, Life Care Center, is also not salvageable, according to Titusville’s Fire Chief, Joe Lamey. He says the two buildings to the right of Maria’s, the Lighthouse Christian Center and Stiffler McGraw sustained some smoke and/or water damage, but are structurally sound.
Lamey says, “Once these other two buildings are down, they’ll make a determination on what kind of damage happened to that marriage wall.”
Nearly three years ago, fire ripped through the buildings that are just across the street. Now that it’s finally renovated, tenants of Towne Square are offering their advice and support. Laurie Baker, Executive Director Titusville Community Development Agencies, says, “We reached out to all of them and said we’ll do anything we can to help you, just let us know… We have great sympathy for these people. It’s very, very difficult to go through it.”
Emily Altomare, Executive Director of the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce, says, “We’ll also be feeling it, of course, economically, financially, and just now, we have the strain of one less place to gather”.
Despite the latest setback to this small town of less than 6,000 people, the community remains positive. Altomare saying, “Our hope is that, of course, that we’ll rebuild in some fashion… we don’t want to see a burned down, vacant building or a vacant lot.”
The chief says there is more work for his team to do before a full evaluation can be complete. “We’re in the process of moving to a demolition phase for that so we can get in the underside of that pile and get it put out… There’s several insurance companies represented. Their investigators are all taking their turns looking at what needs to happen before we can move into a demolition type of operation they need to get their pictures and stuff.”
But, like Lori Baker says, “Regardless of what the decision… it will be a better place.”