SPRINGFIELD – A long-closed nightclub was heavily damaged in a fire early Sunday morning.
The fire at the building at 312 Locust St. began at about 2:30 a.m. and took firefighters about three hours to extinguish, Fire Capt. Drew Piemonte said.
When firefighters arrived, flames had already spread to the roof area. It took about 20 minutes to get the fire under control and firefighters remained at the scene until about 5:30 a.m. ensuring the flames were out and would not rekindle, he said.
“It went to a second alarm but that was mostly for rehabilitation,” Piemonte said.
The fire was difficult to fight in part because of the solid construction of the building, which is a single-story, 5,376-square-foot building located at the corner of Dickinson Street, he said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but it is not believed to be suspicious, Piemonte said.
The city’s building inspector will determine if the building has to be condemned on Monday, he said.
According to city records the property was foreclosed on in 2016. Phoenix Development Inc. purchased the property, assessed at $147,000, in March.
The building was once the Red Lion Café, a well-known bar and dance hall. It was the sight of the 1992 slaying of Granville Miles, 24. Although an arrest warrant was sought for a suspect in his death, the man was never apprehended.
The café later became the Vy Da Café and again was the location of a 2002 double homicide of 18-year-old friends Huan Cong Nguyen and Tuan Thanh Nguyen. Two Connecticut men were convicted in their murders.