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  • Worcester Telegram & Gazette

    'It’s a landmark': Fire hits Rutland House of Pizza building

    By Craig S. Semon, Worcester Telegram & Gazette,


    RUTLAND — A three-alarm fire heavily damaged the Maple Avenue building that is home to Rutland House of Pizza.

    The fire at 1 Maple Ave., reported before midnight Tuesday, drew fire crews from Rutland and surrounding communities. There were no injuries.

    The first firefighters on the scene encountered flames in the kitchen and through the roof, according to the Fire Department.

    The building includes the pizza shop and apartments.

    “The location of the fire starting was the kitchen of the pizza place," Fire Chief Seth Knipe said. "Fire spread throughout the kitchen towards the dining room area."

    The fire was limited to the first floor, with heavy smoke damage to the upstairs apartments, Knipe said.

    The Rutland House of Pizza parlor was closed when the fire was reported; no one was inside the pizza parlor. However, there were people home in the apartments, Knipe said. They got out safely.

    The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

    Wednesday morning, after firefighters had left, the owner of the building, John Hatzopoulos, remained at his burned-out property. The 1,900-square-foot structure has three apartments, in addition to the pizza shop, which he does not own.

    “It’s a landmark,” Hatzopoulos said. “This place has been here since the 1750s…The pizza since ’72, ’74.”

    Hatzopoulos said he is very thankful that no one got hurt.

    “This is my baby, my child,” Hatzopoulos said.

    Hatzopoulos said he plans to rebuild, but as of noontime Wednesday, he had yet to talk to the owner of the pizza business.

    At first glance, passersby Wednesday may have thought it was business as usual at the establishment, but there is extensive fire damage inside the building to a crucial part of the pizza-making operation — its kitchen.

    At closer inspection, one would notice that the front door is not only open at the Rutland House of Pizza, it’s off its hinges and resting in front of a bay window facing Maple Street. Then, the singed siding and sprawled police tape indicate something looks off but not completely off.

    Peaking inside looking at the front counter, the “Ice Cold Coca-Cola sold here” sign, followed by the greeting “Welcome to Rutland House of Pizza” looks normal as usual and, except for some broken tiles on the floor, the pizzeria looks like it could used a good sweeping, not an extensive overhaul. That is until one gets a glimpse of the badly charred kitchen that looks like it went through hell.

    The kitchen inside Rutland House of Pizza is clearly gutted by fire. Singed insulation has been pulled out of the ceiling. Windows are smashed. Wires are hanging. Fixtures and appliances are badly burned. And, despite all this, one can still spot the occasional pizza box and cases of sodas, waiting for pizza delivery or pickup.

    This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: 'It’s a landmark': Fire hits Rutland House of Pizza building

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