Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville said Wednesday morning that the city will fast-track permits to help owners rebuild businesses they lost in an early morning fire.
“It’s a terrible event,” Scoville said of the fire that broke out about 6:00 a.m. in the rear of a restaurant in the 700 block of Front Street.
He said that the front walls of the businesses had collapsed, so it could be difficult for owners to salvage any part of the buildings, which Scoville said dated to the 1880s.
“We ask people to pray for the property owners” and others who will suffer because of the fire, he said.
One restaurant that was destroyed only recently opened, Scoville said, and the 45 employees who had jobs there will now be unemployed.
Scoville said that fire departments from throughout the area arrived to help battle the blaze. He said that at one point a dozen hoses were hooked up to the city’s water system, which wasn’t build to handle that kind of demand.
But the blaze appeared under control about 9 a.m., Scoville said.
At this point officials believe the fire could have started in the back of Limpin’ Jane’s Restaurant, although the mayor said that nothing has been determined positively.
Scoville said that when fire gets into the wood in the downtown’s old buildings, “It burns hot. It burns fast.”
“You hope the property owners have good insurance,” he said.
He was confident that Georgetown would overcome the loss in the center of its business district.
He said a major fire hit the downtown in the 1930s and the city recovered from that.
He said the burned out area from Wednesday’s fire could affect other businesses downtown.
“It’s going to be a huge loss,” he said.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.