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Canandaigua fire to delay new downtown business

Canandaigua, N.Y. — A devastating fire on South Main Street most likely will jeopardize the opening of a new business that neighbors hoped would revitalize that section of downtown Canandaigua. Fifty-five firefighters from eight departments responded Wednesday afternoon for the four-alarm fire in a building that formerly housed the Rose Corner Restaurant at 151 S. Main St. Smoke was reported to be billowing from the building at about 12:45 p.m. The fire appears to have started in the ceiling of a second-floor apartment bathroom in the three-story structure, according to Canandaigua Fire Chief Mark Marentette. Firefighters had to cut open the roof of the building and pull out ceilings to get to the fire, he said.“It was very labor intensive,” Marentette said. “It took a lot of people to deal with the fire and to get into the building to make sure it didn’t spread down the block.”The cause of the fire was still being investigated Wednesday night. Jon and Sue Welch were planning to open the Gateway Grill Restaurant on the first floor of the building in about three weeks. Sue Welch was cleaning upstairs when she smelled smoke and “up it went,” said Welch, who alerted a female tenant on the second floor. Both were able to escape the building safely, she said.“Three weeks away from opening — it’s a devastating loss,” said Welch. Penelope Pankow, who owns F. Oliver’s oils and vinegars store a few doors away, was returning to her store when she saw the smoke. Many business owners were excited by the prospect of having a new restaurant on the block, Pankow said.“We’re hoping it will still happen,” Pankow said. “But, oh darn, one more thing to slow down downtown development.”The fire was contained to the building, the third floor of which sustained smoke and heat damage. The first floor did have substantial water damage, Marentette said. The building is in relatively good shape and repairable, considering what happened, Marentette said.“The guys did a first-rate job in knocking it down,” Marentette said. “Our guys, along with our neighbors, really worked extremely hard to save the building.”Businesses near the fire scene were open by early Wednesday evening, Marentette said. Main Street northbound was closed to traffic for a time as firefighters battled the fire. Several onlookers lined the sidewalks and park across the street. Jessica Bradley of Canandaigua said she was across the street from the building when she heard a kid scream, “‘Oh my god that building is on fire!’” “There was smoke pouring out of the building,” Bradley said. No injuries were reported, Marentette said, but several firefighters received precautionary check-ups at the scene, which is standard operating procedure.“Just to make sure they were OK,” Marentette said.

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