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Demolition job under way

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Demolition has begun on the historic 77-81 Front Street building, after it succumbed to a huge fire last month.

Devonshire-based company Island Construction Services is conducting the work, with the firm's vice-president Alan DeSilva estimating that the job will take “three to four weeks”.

“Everything's coming down; it needs to as it has all been compromised,” said Mr DeSilva, adding that the structure “absolutely” warranted a safety hazard.

The blaze on July 21 tore through Onion Jack's tourist store, Chewstick Culture Hub and multiple businesses under the umbrella of Queen Management Services.

No one was injured in the incident, which began prior to the working day at about 4.30am. “It's a sad day and an end of a chapter,” said Dawn Zuill, president of Bermuda Executive Services, which was located in the premises.

“It was a beautiful old building with wonderful views, and a lot of Bermuda's history has passed through those doors.”

The fire deprived Hamilton of one of two Georgian-era buildings, which was one of Front Street's first three-storey edifices covering a 50ft lot, according to the Bermuda National Trust.

It was built in 1821, offering ground floor retail spaces and residences on the upper floors. Largely wooden, it was home to Thomas J. Tucker, a merchant; in the late 19th century, its upper storeys were leased to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, which moved to Albuoy's Point in 1933.

Later businesses included the J.B. Astwood cycle store and J. Howard Cooper's provision store. The building's reliance on wood ultimately fuelled its undoing, as fire tore through the structure for hours until firefighters quelled the blaze.

Knocked down: Island Construction, preparing 77-81 Front Street for demolition after building caught on fire a few weeks ago (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Fire aftermath: Island Construction, preparing 77-81 Front Street for demolition after building caught on fire a few weeks ago (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Clearing way: Island Construction, preparing 77-81 Front Street for demolition after building caught on fire a few weeks ago (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Next stage: Island Construction, preparing 77-81 Front Street for demolition after building caught on fire a few weeks ago (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
End of an era: Island Construction prepares 77-81 Front Street for demolition after a blaze tore through the building last month (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published August 18, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 18, 2016 at 7:50 am)

Demolition job under way

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