The Salem Fire & EMS Department responded to a commercial structure fire at 1641 East Main Street on Tuesday night at approximately 8:05 p.m. The vacant building, which was scheduled for demolition as part of an extensive renovation project on that corner, sustained extensive damage.
The first units arrived within four minutes of receiving the call and found heavy fire and smoke coming from the second floor of the building, that formerly housed Givens Books. The Incident Commander immediately requested assistance from the Roanoke Fire & EMS Department and firefighters began to attack the fire from all sides of the building, including establishing two ladder pipes for master stream operations.
Due to the size of the fire and the condition of the building, firefighters operated in a defensive mode and did not enter the structure. It took several hours to bring the fire under control and firefighters completed an extensive overhaul operation to ensure the fire was completely extinguished before clearing the scene. During this time, East Main Street near the intersection with Route 419 did remain closed to through traffic.
Approximately 30 personnel from the Salem Fire & EMS Department (Truck 1, Engine 2, Engine 3, Medic 801, Medic 802, Medic 801, Battalion 1 & Fire Medic 1) and the Roanoke Fire & EMS Department (Engine 13, Ladder 5 & Battalion 2) responded to the call.
The fire remains under investigation by the Salem Fire Marshal’s Office and there is no damage estimate currently.