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Fire chars historic Monmouth building


June 28, 2011

Source: Jillian Daley, StatesmanJournal.com  
On A fire on Monday in Monmouth heavily damaged Real Taste of India restaurant, which is housed in a historic building.

No one was injured in the fire, called in at 10 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, “heavy smoke and flames were showing from the front of the building,” at 183 Main St. W, near Western Oregon University, said Polk County Fire District No. 1 Division Chief Neal Olson.

Layers of roofing and a false ceiling (hung under a main ceiling to conceal it) hindered fire crews’ efforts to snuff the flames, Olson said. Firefighters brought the fire under control at 2:30 a.m. and extinguished it completely at 2:55 a.m.

The cause of the fire is believed to have been an electrical or equipment malfunction, but it has not yet been determined, Olson said. The fire ignited in the kitchen. A cost estimate for the damage is not yet available, and the business is insured.

Real Taste of India about a year ago opened in the historic “Crider’s Corner” building, once home to Crider’s Mercantile, Monmouth’s general store for more than 100 years. The rest of the building is in decent shape, Olson said.

The restaurant was not the only business to incur damage. Petals & Vines, which shares a wall with Real Taste of India, had water and smoke damage. Two doors down, Main Street Brew Pub & Eatery had water damage.

Petals & Vines’ owners is closed for now but is looking for an alternative location until it can reopen, said Marilyn Morton, Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce manager.

Main Street had planned to celebrate its one-year anniversary of selling hard alcohol on Tuesday, said Main Street proprietor Ray Stratton said.

Stratton expects to be “up and running by Friday, in time for the Fourth of July weekend.”

The burning business was its own fiery show.

“They were throwing water on it for about four hours last night and the flames barely went down,” Stratton said.

Firefighters from two agencies, Polk County Fire District No. 1 and Dallas Fire Department, banded together to battle the blaze: 28 firefighters, five engines, one ladder truck, one rescue vehicle, three command vehicles and support vehicles.

More Resources

Polk 1 Firefighters Association
International Association of Firefighters - Local 4196
Emergency Reporting - Members Only Login
Job Announcements for the Polk County Fire District
Common Voices - www.fireadvocates.org

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