The Mulligan Building, which used to be a staple in the community of Northwest River, caught fire late Thursday night, burning almost the entire upper half of the structure.
Residents of Northwest River began flocking to the site of the fire shortly after midnight. At first, just one section of the roof appeared to be on fire. But the flames quickly began to spread, causing large clouds of black, foul smelling, smoke to billow into the air.
At one point, a slight gust of wind blew the smoke directly into the group of onlookers, causing the crowd to disperse to find a new vantage point.
The Mulligan Building was built in the mid-1950s and originally served as a hospital. Over time, the building had served many different purposes. For a while, the second storey, served as the towns only apartment buildings. The first floor once contained a convenience store and offices that were used by the Labrador Inuit Health Commission.
But the building has not been used for several years, and has been sitting as an eye sore. The building was expected to be demolished in the near future.
Even though the Mulligan Building has been empty for several years, some people felt nostalgic as they watched it burned. It had served so many purposes over the years and meant different things to different people.
“I was born there,” said one woman, as she watched the fire.
Others talked about who used to live in what apartment back in the day, or remembered dropping into the convenience store to buy a drink or rent a movie.
Although it’s not known what caused the fire. There had been concerns, in the community, about kids entering the building and causing trouble. It’s worth noting that there was no electricity running into the building at the time of the fire.
“It was an incident waiting to happen,” said one resident.
The fire has now calmed downed and is under control. It is, however, still smoldering and creating a lot of smoke. Firefighters and RCMP are still on the scene.