This story has been updated.
The air was still thick with smoke this morning as crowds gathered near Market Square to watch fire crews put out the last hot spots in what used to be the State Street Saloon. The building also housed 14 apartment units.
In an interview with WMUR TV, Fire Chief Steve Achilles said the fire began at approximately 12:30 A.M. in a kitchen. The State Street Saloon restaurant occupied the ground floor of several adjacent buildings on the block. Achilles said one rescue was made from the building at 276 State Street.
Firefighting officials say it appears no one was seriously hurt in the blaze.
The State Street Saloon was a staple of Portsmouth’s downtown culture and many people, like Alison Burridge, were out to mourn the loss.
“Definitely was a meeting spot for a lot of the people who work downtown in the service industry who don’t have a lot of money. It didn’t really put on airs – just a great place.”
David Lovelace owns a café and bookstore just across the street from the blaze. He says he worries about what might replace the building.
“I’m worried that it’ll just be another set of condos, you know. And those were affordable apartments. It’s a shame.”
The owner of the destroyed building was not immediately available for comment.
Fire officials are currently investigating the source of the blaze and the viability of a nearby building that was badly damaged in the fire.
NHPR's Seacoast reporter Jason Moon was on the scene in Portsmouth following updates from the scene of the fire.
— Jason Moon (@jasonmoonNHPR) April 10, 2017