Owner hopes historic building can be salvaged blaze - Metro US

Owner hopes historic building can be salvaged blaze

The owner of the historic South End building engulfed in flames yesterday hopes the structure can be saved.

“I’d hate to lose this building,” said Tony Metlej of Galaxy Properties.

“It looks like it’s salvageable. I don’t know why it wouldn’t be.”

The building was built in the 1870s, according to Nova Scotia Archives and Record Management. Original residents included the lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia and the U.S. consul to Halifax.

It’s been through tough times before. In 2003, hurricane Juan ripped the roof off and caused flooding, but the building was able to be restored.

Jan Wicha and his wife, Helen, owned the building until 2005 and still run Café Chianti on the lower level. As he watched the building burn yesterday, he described the shock that he felt.

­“We’re going through an emotional time right now. But I’m sure we’ll rebuild and start all over again.”

While the damage to his restaurant isn’t yet known, Wicha estimated the 20 Café Chianti employees will be out of work for “quite a while” until it’s up and running again.

Resident Amy Theriault had just enough time to grab her laptop, phone, iPod, wallet and passport before running out. She had a less romantic view of the building.

“It’s so old, there’s so much wood throughout the whole place. It’s a fire waiting to happen,” she said.

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