As many as 60 firefighters fought frigid temperatures as they battled a three-alarm fire on Central St. early Thursday morning.
No one was hurt in the fire, which destroyed the building at 66 Central St., where the OS Meninos Brasil check cashing service and store was located on the ground level.
Fire Chief John Touhey said three tenants were evacuated from the second and third floors, some escaping by using a window that led to a fire-floor roof.
The first calls for the fire were received around 12:20 a.m. The first crews to arrive found heavy smoke and fire and quickly called for backup. In the end, firefghters from Hopkinton and Hopedale were among those who joined 30 firefighters from Milford in fighting the fire.
"The conditions were very difficult," Touhey said. Crews from the Milford Highway Department were on hand spreading salt and sand on ice-covered roadways. The first hydrant tapped had a leak, the chief said, forcing crews to lay lines from another on Main Street.
Crews initially attempted to fight the fire from inside the structure. After nearly an hour of doing so, the chief ordered all firefighters out of the building.
"You worry about structural integrity after that much exposure to fire," Touhey said.
"Our concern at that point became containing the fire to this structure, which we were able to do," he added, pointing to a building just a few feet away from the one that burned.
Firefighters continued to battle the fire another two hours before it was brought under control around 4 a.m.
No information on the cause of the blaze was available, but it appeared to have started on the first floor. Touhey said the state Fire Marshal's office was on scene to conduct interviews and investigate possible causes.
Central Street and some adjacent roadways remained closed several hours after the fire as water used to douse the blaze froze nearly on contact in temperatures that dropped into the mid-teens. "We had a few slips and falls, but fortunately no serious injuries," Touhey said.