The Hardwick Gazette

Independent Local News Since 1889 | Hardwick, VT and Cabot • Calais • Craftsbury • Greensboro • Marshfield • Plainfield • Stannard • Walden • Wolcott • Woodbury

Water Damage Damages Apartments, Businesses in Downtown Hardwick

by Lamoille Housing Partnership

HARDWICK – On Wednesday, July 20, an accidental fire broke out at the Bemis Block affordable housing property located in Hardwick Village, in an apartment above the Galaxy Bookstore and Scale House Restaurant. 

The fire was caused by a candle in a resident’s apartment. The fire was immediately put out by sprinklers in the unit and did not spread beyond the apartment and through the building. Emergency crews arrived quickly on site, assessed the scene, and turned the sprinkler system off when it appeared safe to do so. There were no injuries.

There is some smoke and substantial water damage in the unit where the fire occurred, and additional water damage within the Bemis Block building to two additional apartments, hallways, the basement, as well as the Galaxy Bookstore and Scale House restaurant. 

The Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) and its property management partner, Alliance Property Management, are working with the immediately affected households and businesses to make arrangements to get them what they need so that they can get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

A building maintenance technician has met the fire department on site, as well as an insurer, and a restoration cleanup company. The sprinkler system is back online. 

“We are deeply committed to our residents and the Hardwick community. LHP and our development and community partners are working with immediately affected Bemis Block residents and business owners to learn what their needs are, and make arrangements to get these folks what they need so that we can get them back on their feet as quickly as possible,” said Jim Lovinsky, executive director of the Lamoille Housing Partnership.

Located on South Main Street in downtown Hardwick, Bemis Block Apartments is a mixed use affordable housing development. Two commercial spaces at street level anchor the building, and 14 income eligible apartments upstairs are rented by lower and moderate income seniors. The original Bemis Block building experienced a devastating fire in 2005, and was bought and redeveloped by Lamoille Housing Partnership and Evernorth; the first residents moved in in 2008.

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