Stores begin to reopen after downtown fire - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Stores begin to reopen after downtown fire

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The rubble of the former Old Fellows Building in North Attleborough. The rubble of the former Old Fellows Building in North Attleborough.

A week after a fire tore through the former Odd Fellows Building in North Attleborough, downtown is starting to pick up the pieces.

The "open" sign was lit up once again Friday in the window of The Preservation Framer on North Washington Street. The store is in a building that abutted the Old Fellows, which was destroyed in a fire on Jan. 3.

"Fortunately for us, we suffered no major damages. Everyone's artwork is safe. Our materials are good, and safe, and we're just really thrilled to be back in here," store co-owner Rob Dziubek said Friday.

The same cannot yet be said for Cafe Porto Bello next door. The basement suffered flood damage, and cleaning crews are expected to be there for the better part of next week.

A sign in the window says the restaurant doesn't know when it'll be open again.

"I feel so bad for them. Granted they have insurance, but what a mess. What a cleanup," said Harlene Simmons.

North Washington Street is usually a busy, bustling section of town. It's now filled with construction equipment and insurance adjusters.

"I think it's really going to bring the people back together. We're going to take care of one another and get this place back to the downtown we know and love and that we believe in," Dziubek said.

Al Gallotta owned the former Odd Fellows building in the 1970s and recounted some of his favorite memories.

"There was a big hall on the third floor. My kids used to play tennis there. We flew airplanes there. We kind of miss it," he said. "How you can take as many memories as I have and put them in a pile like that?"

Some detours remain on the surrounding streets, but North Washington Street is open for traffic in both directions.

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