WILMINGTON — Firefighters from three departments and other emergency personnel were on the scene about six hours Tuesday night into Wednesday morning at the fire which gutted Bennett Realty on West Locust Street.
“We were notified at 9:48 last night,” Wilmington Fire Department Chief Andy Mason told the Wilmington News Journal Wednesday morning. “When we got here flames were through the roof in the front center of the building.
“Clinton-Warren Fire Department and Port William Fire Department provided mutual aid in fighting what ended up being an attic fire throughout the 7,000 square-foot building.”
Mason said the interior office areas sustained heavy water damage as well as ceiling collapse throughout.
“Very little was salvaged last night and the owner and his employees are on scene today removing what they believe they can save,” he said. “Damage estimates are reaching a million dollars at this time with a cause pointing to something electrical in the attic.
“The owner was inside the building at 7:30 last night with nothing noticed at that time. He did receive a call from his alarm company reporting a burglar alarm followed by a call of glass break alarm and fire alarms. Crews worked from time of arrival until around 3 or 3:30 a.m.”
Mason added that there were no injuries.
Owner Jeff Bennett told the News Journal on Wednesday that, while there’s a lot to do, the next step for Bennett Realty is to find a temporary location. As to where they’ll go, Bennett said they weren’t sure yet.
“We have five different locations that we can go to. So, I’ve got to decide which one we’re going to go to. Whichever is the easiest transition to, that’s the one we’ll choose,” he said.
When asked what locals could do to help if they wished to, he said, “Have their prayers with us.”
Some of the firm’s staff helped salvage items Wednesday, and Bennett said the company is still taking calls and still in operation.
“Non-stop,” said Administrative Assistant Robin Norman.