A downtown mill building developers had hoped to rehabilitate has been destroyed by fire.
No injuries were reported at the Stevens Street fire scene, but Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said the building was the subject of redevelopment talks to begin this week.
“This was going to be a wonderful redevelopment site. It’s terrible,” the mayor said.
The seven-alarm blaze brought mutual aid from such area communities as Amesbury, Andover, Atkinson, Lawrence, Methuen, Plaistow and West Newbury. Haverhill firefighters battled the blaze from both sides of Little River. Stevens Street begins at Winter Street, near the Haffner’s gas station. Other fire departments covered Haverhill fire stations. According to what he has learned, Fiorentini said, neither firefighters nor anyone else has been hurt.
“Our number one concern is that nobody’s hurt—our guys or anybody else.” The mayor said he is thankful for the support from other communities.
“I hear the chief has done a wonderful job. The guys have set up a firewall to stop the fire from spreading. The guys from West Newbury are down along Little River to try and stop the fire from spreading over there. It’s great cooperation, coordination,” he said.
The city has used federal Community Development Block Grant money to board up the building and its owner has hired private security to keep people out, officials said. The property is listed for sale on commercial real estate sites for possible redevelopment. A local commercial real estate broker connected with the property said Barry Levine owns the expansive building.
“A group was coming in, scheduled to see me on Tuesday about redeveloping this whole area here,” Fiorentini said.
More details will air during WHAV’s morning news coverage with Dana Esmel, beginning at 7 a.m.