Ari’s owner buys former Norway boarding house destroyed in fire

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NORWAY — The owner of Ari’s Pizza and Subs on Main Street has purchased the lot next door where a boarding house burned down May 9.

Chris Farrar said the purchase was completed Friday and he hopes to begin demolishing the building as early as Wednesday.

He plans to use the lot for parking for his business.

Farrar said that as part of the agreement with former owner Vira P. Micklon, he had taken on responsibility for demolishing the building and clearing the lot. “The ball’s in my court now. I just have to get it taken care of.”

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He said Wednesday is the target date for demolition, but it could be later.

He said repairs to the restaurant were going more slowly than he’d expected and that he didn’t want to give an expected date of reopening.

“Every time I estimate, I’m not even close,” Farrar said. “I hope that it’s only a few weeks, but I don’t know.”

“We’re still waiting on insurance approval to really go to town,” he said. A contractor from T & L Drywall Inc. of Auburn was tearing out walls in the restaurant Monday. Farrar said walls and ceilings in two upstairs apartments will need ceilings and walls replaced.

He said he’s waiting for word from his insurance company before they can start work rebuilding.

A sign in front of the Main Street business reads, “We will be back.”

The building was damaged when a fire destroyed the boarding house. The fire caught the top of Farrar’s building briefly, but firefighters kept it from spreading by spraying the building and several propane tanks on the alley between the fire and Ari’s.

The former boarding house was owned by Micklon, who was deeded the house by her mother, Madeline Pratt. The fire left a dozen men and women without a home, although several have found homes in other buildings owned by Pratt.

A first-floor resident of the boarding house, 19-year-old Todd Fickett, has been charged with arson in the fire. He has not yet entered a plea, but police say Fickett admitted to starting a fire in a can, which he said accidentally tipped over and set the building ablaze.

treaves@sunjournal.com

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