The owners of the Gallery in Lewiston have been forced to close the main room of the bar.

LEWISTON – Less than a week after celebrating its second anniversary, the Gallery Theater Bar on Lisbon Street was forced to close its main room Saturday night after bricks fell off the building next door and landed on the bar’s roof.

“The landlord called me at about 11 a.m.,” said Scott Verreault, co-owner of the Gallery. “I was on my way in to set up for tonight anyway, so I came in, called the insurance company, called the police and they called the fire department and the city.”

The bricks fell from the back left corner of 313 Lisbon St., which is three stories high, and crashed onto the nightclub, which is only one story. The bricks pierced a large hole in the roof.

The impact was so severe that inside the club, air conditioning ducts had come loose from fittings on the ceiling, and at least one rafter was damaged.

“The fire department came and knocked out some of the other bricks as a precaution,” said Verreault. “Our biggest problem now is that we can’t open that room until this is fixed.”

Both Verreault and the owner of the building, Maurice Beaulieu, said they had noticed the poor condition of the building next door and had spoken to the city several times about the leaning wall of bricks.

“We’ve been in here for two years,” said Verreault, “and ever since, the landlord has been asking the city about that wall, about those bricks. We could see it coming. It was only a matter of when.”

Beaulieu echoed Verreault, saying he has been after the city for several years to do something about the wall. The building is being prepared for demolition as part of the downtown restoration project.

“They’ve started to go through the process of tearing that building down,” said Beaulieu. “I guess they’ve started with removing the asbestos and all of the pigeon doo, which can take a while.”

The club was able to open at limited capacity Saturday night, after City Inspector Eric Cousens and Fire Inspector Paul Ouellette arrived to inspect the damage and allowed a small room adjacent to the main room to remain open.

Still, the owners are worried.

“If we have to stay closed for a week, that’s more than $10,000,” said Verreault. “You push that to two weeks and it’s $20,000. We’re a small business, and that hurts us a lot. It’s not like we’re an Applebee’s or a Chili’s that is a chain and that has money to fix things like this.”

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