Commercial structure fire in downtown Laurel under investigation


LAUREL - A fire that caused an estimated $2,000,000 damage to a downtown commercial structure Wednesday is under investigation, authorities said.

Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal spokesman John Galaska said the incident, reported shortly before 1 a.m. occurred in the 100 block of East Market Street.

The structure was described by the Town of Laurel as the Globe Building, a fixture in the downtown district for many years..

The three-story structure housed the No. 1 Chinese restaurant on the ground floor. Unoccupied apartments in the above floors were undergoing renovation..

“Luckily there were no people in residence in this building because the owner was in the process of renovating the whole thing," Laurel Mayor John Shwed said Wednesday morning.

The Laurel Fire Department arrived on the scene and found heavy smoke and fire coming from the structure, Mr. Galaska said.

Several surrounding structures were damaged by the fire. Mutual aid fire companies assisted at the scene.

State fire investigators were called to the scene along with agents from the ATF, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Mr. Galaska said. Investigators are performing an investigation to determine the origin and cause of the fire.

There were no reported injuries.

Prep work for eventual demolition was  ongoing late Wednesday morning.

Mr. Galaska said.the corner intersection at East Market Street and Delaware Avenue would likely remain closed for several days during demolition.

This is the second major fire changing the landscape of downtown Laurel in less than a year.

On Jan. 27, 2022, a blaze destroyed the Rigbie Apartment complex  on Central Avenue, leaving approxmately a dozen families and 50 adults and children homeless.

Delaware State News reporter Glenn Rolfe contributed to this story.

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