BLOOMSBURG — A landmark in Columbia County went up in flames Thursday.
Fire ripped through the Moose Exchange on Main Street in Bloomsburg around 11 a.m.
The Bloomsburg Fire Chief said the fire started in the back of the building.
There were people inside the shops at the time, but firefighters say everyone got out safely.
The executive director of this building on Main Street was too emotional to talk on camera, tells Newswatch 16 they are insured, but the fire chief thinks the building is a total loss.
The Moose Exchange is a non-profit arts and cultural center, according to the website.
The Bloomsburg community lined the streets to watch as the Moose Exchange building was filled with heavy smoke.
People who live in the area say this building was a staple in town.
“It’s a community place. It’s sad,” said a neighbor.
“The structure inside was beautiful and most of the parts inside that had been renovated are probably gone,” said Brock Dent who owned a gallery in the Moose Exchange.
The fire chief said the building was very old and has been renovated many times. Because of that, the fire was able to spread from the back of the building to the front.
“I’m devastated. Everything, my artwork, supplies, everything was in the building and it’s likely destroyed.”
Brock Dent ran an art studio for kids in the building. He said not only is he upset for this loss, but for those who loved the arts.
“It brought so much to the community as far as the arts that were involved in here, theater, music, visual arts which I was part of.”
“They just had kids in there for a field trip two days ago. It’s just sad.”
The fire chief thinks an auxiliary heater on the first floor might have started the blaze. A fire marshal will investigate the cause.