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Fire guts buildings in historic Kansas town

Sun., March 13, 2005, midnight

FORT SCOTT, Kan. – Fire that raged through Fort Scott’s historic downtown destroyed at least seven buildings and damaged about a half-dozen others, the fire chief said Saturday. No one was injured.

Strong wind fanned the blaze, which started just before 2 p.m. Friday in the Other Bar on Main Street, Mayor Gary Billionis said.

The cause of the blaze had not yet been determined, officials told merchants Saturday. They estimated property losses in the millions of dollars.

At least seven buildings were gutted, Fire Chief Jeff Davis said.

Those buildings and possibly two others will have to be demolished, then rebuilt to conform with the historical nature of the downtown, City Manager Richard Niendstedt added.

Fire departments from 10 to 15 nearby communities fought the blaze and two Kansas Army National Guard helicopters dropped water.

The mayor said flames jumped from roof to roof less than two blocks from old Fort Scott Army post, built in 1842 and now a historical attraction.

The three- and four-story buildings, between 100 and 140 years old, are brick with wood interiors. They house antique stores, restaurants, other retail shops and offices.


 

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