An electrical fire in downtown Milton Sept. 22 may have been a blow to the town’s business community, but those affected are looking to pick up the pieces and continue on.
Police and fire Chief Derrick Harvey said Milton firefighters were in action for an hour and 42 minutes battling the blaze. Bystander photos show Harvey himself climbing the ladder to the top of the building.
“I have not seen a fire like that in the downtown area in my lifetime,” Harvey said.
The fire caused $100,000 in damages in the 100 block of Federal Street. The row of buildings is mixed commercial/residential, with the businesses on the bottom floor and residential units on the top. The fire started after an appliance electrical malfunction in one of the upstairs apartments. John Galaska, chief deputy state fire marshal said the building was occupied at the time and the occupants were able to escape without injury. No other injuries were reported.
Hillary Brock, owner of Nest Spa, one of the buildings affected, said the family in the apartment had just moved in. She said in her six years owning her business, tenants have come and gone from the upstairs apartments. Following the fire, the Red Cross has been assisting the family, and Milton businesses such as Irish Eyes and Dough Bar provided food to those affected and the firefighters.
One of the buildings damaged was The Speckled Roost. Owner Kristen Latham, who also owns Dough Bar, said the structure sustained severe smoke and water damage. She said the property was insured, but the situation is in a holding pattern as insurance adjusters determine if the damage is a total loss or not. Latham said plans were in place to move the Suburban Farmhouse’s coffee shop over there, but she is uncertain whether those plans will be delayed.
“Right now it’s a game of sit and wait,” she said.
Brock said she was not there when the fire began; one of her employees called and told her what was happening before she went over. She said the building sustained severe water and smoke damage, and, like Latham, she is waiting for insurance adjusters to determine the damage.
“Everything was kind of lost,” Brock said.
Still, she is determined to carry on.
“We’re planning on something after the insurance gets done,” Brock said. “I was definitely shocked. It’s sad. But I’m going to push forward.”