Sudbury firefighters battled a downtown fire Wednesday afternoon but as of 4:30 p.m. it had yet to be determined how the blaze began or the full extent of the damage.
The older four-storey building on Durham at the corner of Larch Street has been part of the downtown landscape in Sudbury for decades.
The building houses several businesses such as Oscar’s Grill, Kulta Vintage, Diamonds, Monteleone Custom Fashions and Thrive Health Foods. There are several apartments in the upper floors of the building.
"I just rushed home from work. I got word that the building was on fire," said resident Nick Vardon.
His most immediate worry was his dog, Stark, a 75-pound husky shepherd mix that stood anxiously on the window on the second floor.
There was grey smoke seeping out of the siding on the building and while it was dark in the apartment, it appeared there was smoke inside.
Vardon notified a police officer on the street, pointing up to the dog in the window. The police officer then notified a firefighter.
By that time, several onlookers on the street were pointing up at the dog looking down on the excitement below.
Within minutes several firefighters walked over with an extension ladder.
Two of the firefighters, Jeff Wicklander and Shawn Bretschneider,* climbed the ladder. Fire captain Jim Bergeron stayed at the bottom of the ladder to steady it.
Once Bretschneider managed to break the side window, he called for the dog, which did not immediately come to him. He then climbed into the smokey apartment and retrieved the frightened animal, which he then passed through the window into the waiting arms of firefighter Wicklander. The animal was clearly frightened, but otherwise looked okay. The firefighters carried the dog down the ladder.
People on the street cheered.
A member of the Greater Sudbury Paramedic service met the group at the bottom of the ladder and right away administered oxygen to the animal, which immediately calmed down.
Vardon said he was more than pleased that the firefighters were able to rescue Stark. He said he was not sure what might happen to his two cats, Raphael and Michaelangelo.
Fire officials were not able to comment on how the fire might have begun or the extent of the damage inside.
Len Gillis is a reporter at Sudbury.com.
*Editor's note: This name has been corrected