The double-layered walls of Liberty Market are perfect if you're hiding from a tornado, but they make putting out a fire extremely difficult.
Woonsocket Firefighters know that second part well after spending six hours putting out a fire at the small corner grocery store at 95 Main St. The fire call came in at about 12:45 p.m., said Deputy Fire Chief Paul Russell, and they were just finishing putting it out at about 7 p.m. as firefighters rolled up hoses for two fire engines and prepared to leave the scene as a single police cruiser blocked the east-bound lane of Main Street.
On the west bound side of the street, a crowd of about 20 people watched them clean up the scene. About 35 people who live in the apartments in the mixed-use building have been displaced most of the day, Russell said, though he hoped to move them back inside their homes soon.
"The Market will not reopen," at least not soon, he said.
"It was very intensive," said Russell, "We had to breach a lot of brick walls." Inside the store, near the back, a number of bricks were piled in front of a hole in the wall that revealed another brick wall behind it. The fire was tough to pin down in that construction, Russell said.
Jessika Lefebvre, a clerk at Liberty Market, said she showed up for work at about the same time the fire began. She was sitting inside at a table in the market, which was lit by extension corded lights and smelled faintly of charcoal, waiting for the firefighters.
The street was open again by 9:30 p.m.