Archive for Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oskaloosa fire damages three businesses, Masonic Lodge

January 14, 2014


Residents of Oskaloosa are mourning the destruction a fire inflicted on several businesses on the 500 block of Liberty Street late Monday night.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Herrig, the fire caused extensive damage to Rose's Downtown Cafe and Pia Friend Realty, while also causing minor smoke damage to the State Bank of Oskaloosa. Masonic Lodge No. 14, located above Rose's, is also believe to be damaged, Herrig said.

No injuries resulted from the blaze, he said.

According to Kevin Fowler, the Oskaloosa District No. 8 fire chief, crews were sent to the scene at 10:50 p.m. Monday and extinguished the flames by 1:45 a.m. The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but Herrig said it is believed to have started in the basement of the cafe.

Herrig said the main floor of the cafe collapsed into the basement, but also indicated it may be possible to salvage the building. No damage estimates were available Tuesday.

"Some seem to think it can be repaired," Herrig said.

Liz Leech, a native of Oskaloosa now living in Washington state who is researching the town's founding, said the building was constructed in 1886, making it one of the oldest in the county. She said the cafe was something of a "hang out" for residents.

"It's definitely a loss for the town," she said. "I always go there when I go back to town and I always see a dozen people I know hanging out in the restaurant."


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