Massive Whiskey Row fire under investigation; Prescott landmarks destroyed

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by Mike Gertzman

azfamily.com

Posted on May 8, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Updated Thursday, May 10 at 6:46 PM

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PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- Firefighters battled a fast-moving blaze on Tuesday night on Prescott's famous Whiskey Row.

According to Lt. Andy Reinhardt with the Prescott Police Dept., the fire destroyed the Bird Cage Saloon on South Montezuma Street and Pearl's Cafe. The Prescott Food Company is 80 percent damaged.

Lt. Reinhardt said the cause and origin of the fire are still under investigation.

The fire started around 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening.

There were 60 firefighters on scene from Prescott, the Central Yavapai Fire Department, Chino Valley Fire Department and Groom Creek Fire Department.

Crews used three ladder trucks and nine engines. It took two hours to get the fire under control and Lt. Reinhardt said at one point flames reached 20 feet high.

Prescott police officers evacuated nearby businesses and an apartment above one of those businesses.

Nobody was injured.

Crews were on the scene late Tuesday night still working to put out hot spots.

"When we have something like this happen in the city of Prescott it really takes a hard hit on everybody," said Lt. Reinhardt.

When asked if he thought the area will be rebuilt, Reinhardt said, "It definitely will be. Prescott is known as being such a historic place and it's got lots of history to it."

Residents from Prescott and surrounding areas flocked to the scene to see the damage.

Mary Kosco has lived in Prescott for 30 years. She stood by and watched as flames destroyed part of her beloved town. "I've spent quite a bit of time in there [the Bird Cage Saloon] as many people my age have and there's a lot of history, over a 100 years of history and just personal history, it's sad. It's really sad," said Kosco

In 1901 a fire broke in the Palace Saloon and spread very rapidly destroying much of Whiskey Row.

Many of the buildings in the historic district were built more than 100 years ago and do not have the fire safety requirements that are now required for commercial construction.

 

 

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