Hbg, state officials vow to rebuild fire-ravaged Broad Street Market | Wednesday Morning Coffee

‘The heart of our community was taken from us … we will rebuild it,’ Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams said

By: - July 12, 2023 7:09 am
The exterior of the fire-damaged brick building at Harrisburg's Broad Street Market (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek).

The exterior of the fire-damaged Brick Building at Harrisburg’s Broad Street Market (Capital-Star photo).

Harrisburg city officials and state leaders vowed this week to rebuild the historic Brick Building at the Broad Street Market in the Capital City’s Midtown neighborhood after it was seriously damaged in a fire in the early hours of Monday morning.

“The heart of our community was taken from us,” Mayor Wanda Williams said during a news conference on Monday, according to TheBurg, a magazine that covers Harrisburg. “Today is not the end of the Broad Street Market. We will rebuild it.”

Photos on social media showed the flames, which towered above the skyline, were visible from the west bank of the Susquehanna River.

PennLive reported Tuesday that a malfunctioning ceiling fan sparked the blaze around 1 a.m. on Monday. The building did not have a sprinkler system, according to TheBurg.

“This was an accidental fire,” Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline said, according to PennLive. “I know there’s a lot of scuttlebutt that it may have intentionally set. One hundred percent it was an accidental fire in that ceiling fan fixture.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro Visits the site of the Broad Street Market fire (Commonwealth Media Services).

At Monday’s news conference, Gov. Josh Shapiro and state Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, offered the state’s assistance to the city as it rebuilds the market building, which is a popular lunch-hour destination for city and state workers, and a weekend fixture for residents.

“This market matters. It has mattered for more than a century. It’s a great place of great fellowship and is a place that we love and are excited to see rebuilt,” Shapiro said, according to PennLive.

An aerial view of the fire-damaged Broad Street Market in Harrisburg (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

According to PennLive, the state Department of Agriculture plans to work with vendors to keep them in business while the market is rebuilt.

City officials also say they plan to work with the state Department of Community & Economic Development to support the stricken vendors, the online news site further reported.

The brick building housed about 23 vendors and the entire market was undergoing a refurbishment that included fresh paint and cleaning, according to PennLive. Fundraising efforts already are underway to assist vendorsPennLive further reported.

“The commonwealth is going to be here to support and assist, not dictate but to support and assist and we look forward to partnering with Mayor Williams and her department,” Shapiro said.

The market is also covered under Harrisburg’s insurance, city Business Administrator Dan Hartman told TheBurg, adding that he had “no worry at all” that the damage would be covered. Vendors in the market also are required to have their own insurance.

“Make no mistake, this will take time and, of course, tears, but the end result will be worth it,” Williams said, according to TheBurg. “The Broad Street Market will be back and better than ever before.”

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.