A building in Worcester, Massachusetts, was determined a total loss and a firefighter was taken to the hospital following a fire breaking out on Monday evening.
The Worcester Fire Department was called to a report of smoke coming from a door and roof at a building on Pleasant Street just after 6 p.m. Monday, the agency said. When crews arrived, they found smoke coming from the side door of a strip mall.
Firefighters had a hard time getting to the basement, and the fire conditions were described as "advanced." Defensive operations were ongoing for hours, fire officials said.
“Everything is consumed, everything is gone. There’s nothing to save,” said Edvin Ramirez. He ran Worcester Flower Shop with his wife, Julia Portillo.
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He became emotional looking at the rubble where their business stood for the last four years.
“We started our business from scratch. I came here 20 years ago trying to live the American dream. My wife came here ten years ago so we were making it,” said Ramirez. “We were gearing up to a good year again but now we are out of business.”
“I am very sad,” said Portillo in Spanish. “I loved making the arrangements and when we delivered them, seeing customers become really happy when they received them. To see the dream and the effort of four years [gone], it’s hard.”
They were preparing for the busiest time of the year with orders for Mother’s Day, proms and a wedding. With a broken heart they had to cancel those orders as they work to figure out how to begin again.
A furniture store called U-home décor was also destroyed in the fire.
“One day a nice building and next day nothing, you know, it's just is very sad,” said George Makos, owner of Pleasant Street Market across the street. He said he is friends with the owner of the building.
“I talked to him. He was so upset. He says to me, I don't know what to do.”
Makos says he hopes they can rebuild.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The firefighter had to be taken to the hospital for evaluation.