Fire destroyed a longtime Woodstock landmark Friday evening, May 7, as flames spread through the main structure of Cosy Cabins Motel on Lower Main Street.
Woodstock Fire Chief Harold McLellan said the fire call came in around 8:20 p.m. He said the first firefighters arrived to find the fire in the building's basement, quickly climbing to the attic.
McLellan said the old and renovated structure provided a challenge for firefighters. He said the attic contained a lot of old papers stored there over the years.
Two hours into the battle, McLellan anticipated a total loss as firefighters fought to extinguish the fire.
Smoke bellowed from several areas of the large structure, with flames rising from the roof at the southeast corner.
With the situation becoming too dangerous to send crews into the building, McLellan said he reached out to John Organ, a representative of the building owner, to discuss the option of bringing in an excavator to rip down part of the structure to help crews douse the flames.
After a discussion with Organ, fire chiefs on hand and other officials, McLellan called E. Cummings Contractors to send an operator and machine to the site.
The chief described an interior tact to battle the blaze from inside the structure as too dangerous.
"I wasn't going to risk it," he said.
Before making the decision, McLellan said, he entered the building to check conditions and found the first floor weakened by the fire which started in the basement.
McLellan said the cause of the fire, which is still under investigation, remains unknown, other than it started in the basement.
While most of the building was without power, he said power ran from the back corner of the building to feed electricity to the nearby campground.
He said NB Power crews were on scene to help.
The building once served as the motel office and housed various other businesses, including a restaurant, over the years.
Cosy Cabins Motel and Campground served travellers and others for several decades, dating back to its heyday in the 50s and 60s.
It has not been operating in recent years, except for the campground that sits along the St. John River behind the Cosy Cabins main building and a line of unused and deteriorating cabins.
McLellan said the Debec and Meductic fire departments provided mutual aid to the Woodstock firefighters.
The RCMP, and later the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, closed Lower Main Street between Heller Road and Beardsley Road, which remained closed while firefighters were on the scene.
McLellan said the fire department left the scene shortly after 3 a.m.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun