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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default Bartow Fla--Morning Fire Destroys Historic Buildings

    Tampa Tribune

    Fire
    By CHERYL N. SCHMIDT cschmidt@tampatrib.com
    Published: Jun 7, 2005

    BARTOW - State fire marshal's office investigators are in Bartow searching for the cause of a fire that destroyed two historic buildings downtown Monday, while city officials are also looking into water pressure firefighters say was too weak to properly fight the blaze.

    Two office buildings in the 200 block of East Main Street were destroyed in the fire reported by a trucking company office worker when she came in about 7 a.m.

    The call was to a ``burning odor'' not a fire, Bartow Fire Department Lt. Jimmy Schaill said today. Four firefighters who were about to get off duty and two who were coming on duty responded.

    Once they got inside and realized the building was in flames, Schaill said, firefighters radioed the station for all available manpower and at 7:08 a.m. made a mutual aid call to other departments.

    Ultimately, firefighters from four more cities and Polk County responded, with the first arriving at 7:24 a.m. Schaill said their problem then became not having enough water pressure to properly run ladder trucks.

    ``Our ladder truck will pump 2,000 gallons a minute,'' if there's a good water supply, Schaill said, but was only able to pump 450 to 600 gallons a minute until ``we started shutting down other water lines.''

    At a city commission meeting Monday night, City Manager Joe DeLegge said an investigation into the water issue will be conducted.

    DeLegge was out of town today and unavailable for further comment.

    Schaill said he expects the fire marshal to be at the scene at least until Thursday.


    Reporter Cheryl N. Schmidt can be reached at (863) 683-6531.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Default

    Out Of The Ashes
    Neighbors Hope Owner Will Rebuild Burned Buildings

    By Amber Smith
    The Ledger

    BARTOW
    Several downtown Bartow business owners said they hope the owner of the recently burned buildings will rebuild. Nelle Kennedy Stuart Terry, who owns the two historic buildings that burned June 6, said she started demolishing the buildings but said she has not yet decided what she will do with the property.

    "I would love to see her rebuild there," said Bo Raulerson, who owns Bartow Christian Books and Gifts one block away from the burned buildings. "I would love to see her clean and reuse the old bricks from the buildings, but that's not feasible."

    The two buildings in the 200 block of East Main Street caught fire about 7 a.m. June 6. State Fire Marshal's Office investigators said the blaze was started by an electrical short in a fluorescent ceiling light in a second floor storage room. No one was injured in the fire.

    Raulerson said he understood why Terry had the buildings torn down.

    "I can see where she didn't have any other option. If they had been my buildings, I would have torn them down, too," Raulerson said. "Nelle Kennedy has been a Bartow girl since Day One. I know she will do whatever is best for Bartow. She has this community's best interests at heart."

    City Commissioner Brian Hinton, who had his consulting business in one of the buildings that burned, said he thought Terry would rebuild and said he would like to be a tenant of hers again.

    David Osgood, owner of Yesterday and Today Collectibles at 105 E. Main St., said he would also like to see the buildings rebuilt. He said he did not want to see the land left vacant or turned into a park.

    "We have enough parks," Osgood said. "We need more commercial businesses. The more commercial we have downtown the more it attracts people downtown."

    Terry said engineers told her the buildings were not worth saving and that it would be cheaper in the long run to rebuild.

    She said she has not yet seen the engineering report on the buildings.

    Bartow Main Street officials do not think the demolition of the buildings will affect the revitalization project under way on Main Street.

    "It won't affect it at all. In fact it would be a good opportunity for them to have some input in what would go there," said Sue Hanson, president of Bartow Main Street.

    Bartow's Community Redevelopment Agency is in the process of a $4 million project that will revamp the Main Street area.

    The redesign of Main Street will stretch from Woodlawn Avenue on the west to the Peace River on the east, totaling about two miles. The street will be resurfaced throughout, but the five blocks through downtown Bartow will be redesigned to make it more inviting.

    The project, which began in April, should be completed by November.

    Hanson said she would like to see a theater built where the buildings stood.

    "I think one of the old buildings that burned was the old theater. I don't think there has been a theater in the downtown since the 1960s," Hanson said. "I think our population warrants a theater. Whether it would be a fine arts theater or whatever."

    Hanson said she would like to see retail on the first floor of any replacement buildings and anything from a parking garage to condos on any other floors.

    "I think some more unique retail stores would get people to come to the downtown. That's what we need," she said.

    Amber Smith can be reached at amber.smith@theledger.com or 863-422-6800.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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